Thursday, July 7, 2011

Where Next?

It has been over a year since my last travel adventure, which was a trip to Ecuador in the spring of last year. I've been to Seattle and Colorado since then, but nowhere exciting. Then it happened, suddenly: that coming together of time and money that makes planning an exotic trip irresistible.

Initially, there was no question, i was going to Mali. It has been #1 on my travel list for a while. Unfortunately, the time i have at my disposal is in July and if there is one month not to visit Mali, it is July, when tropical-scale rains fall nonstop and turn the usually sandy landscape into a mud pit, which made my plans for camping in the desert an impossibility.

Next on the list: Syria. The thing is, things are a little too interesting in Syria right now.
India: Monsoon season.
Europe: I feel like going somewhere more exotic and less expensive.
South America: I can't do two South America trips back to back, plus it's winter in many parts of the continent.

Then it came to me: that mysterious part of the globe locked between the Middle East and Asia. The land of 'stans - Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, etc. But what specifically caught my attention was Uzbekistan. Samarkand and Bukhara, jewels of the silk road, dating back to nearly 1000 years BCE, land of history, camels, and blue-tiled mosques.

The trip planning has begun and if all goes according to my brilliantly devised schedule, i will be leaving on 15 July.  The only possible roadblock is my visa. Canadians need a visa to visit Uzbekistan. In order to apply for a visa we need a letter of invitation from a person or agency in Uzbekistan. Before we can get that letter our information, itinerary, etc must be approved by some government agency in Uzbekistan. Once getting the letter one can apply for the visa at nearest Uzbekistan embassy...which is in New York. So it's an involved process. I think i have enough time to get my visa, but there is a chance that it will all fall apart at the last minute.

I have no plan B, so my next post will either be a bon voyage as i board a plane for Tashkent, or it will be a heartbreaking account of visa denial and crushed travel dreams.

Fingers crossed,