Thursday, July 28, 2011

Night Train to Tashkent

My last day in Bukhara was pretty relaing. I just went for walks and read a book and went out for lunch at an Italian restaurant. I know, Italian food in Uzbekistan sounds like a bad idea, and i'm not sure that it was all that authentic, but the vegetarian pizza that i nibbled at (usually i would have gobbled it down, but i am still feeling ill), was actually ok. They best part though was sitting at a proper indoor restaurant and smoking a cigar; it's just so civilized.

They evening came and i caught the 7:40 night train to Tashkent. It taskes about 12 hours, so i had booked a bed in a sleeper car, each of which holds four. Unfortunately i shared my car with four men. There wasn't anything wrong with them, but sleeping in close quarters with 4 men who don't speak english doesn't thrill me.
The beds were comfy and it was nice to lie down, but the air conditioning that was allegedly flowing failed to cool me down at all. I spent the whole time lying in a pool of my own sweat and praying that some sort of a breeze would come, but my bunk mates kept the door to the car and the window closed, so no breezes were to come. Needless to say, i got very little sleep.

On arriving in Tashkent, i caught the metro to my new hotel. Unfortunately, as i waited for my car to arrive, a police man or solider (I can't tell which are which) took me off the platform and to a small room with a table, two chairs and another uniformed officer waiting. Neither of them spoke english and i refused to speak any russian. They inspected my passport, visa, registration papers, my money and searched my bag.  Of the questions they asked that i understood were "why are you in uzbekistan?", "Do you have family here or in Russia?", "What is your job?", "How long are you here?", "Are you married?" and "Do you have any children". I think they wanted a bribe, but they didn't ask and i didn't offer.  Finally, after about a half an hour of questions in russian (no matter how many times i said i only spoke english, they kept speaking to me in russian), they let me go.

I now know that it wasn't a big deal, but in the moment, i found it unnerving and upsetting. Being interrogated for no reason by two men in a language you don't understand is not a good feeling. I felt like i was in a Kafka novel.

Then, i finally arrived at my hotel, where frankly, all i wanted was a shower, a nap, and an hour or so of watching the BBC, but i found out that they had lost my reservation and were fully booked. The only room i could get was a tiny room with a cot and a fan. No AC and a shared bathroom. I really wanted something better, but couldn't bear the thought of trudging around town popping into hotels, so i took it. It is a cozy little place and my room, such as it is, is only about $6 or $7 dollars a night.

Tomorrow night i fly to Seoul.
On every trip i have one day where i feel tired and fed up. Today is that day. Tomorrow will be better.


Anonymous said...

The sun will come up tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar!

Anonymous said...

Hasa Diga Eebowai. BLou