Week Four in Status Updates: Uzbekistan and Tajikistan

WHY ONLY STATUS UPDATES?: It turns out we don’t have nearly as much time or Internet access as we had hoped we’d have on the Rally, so our blog has ended up pretty neglected. However, we have been able to post quick updates through Facebook and Twitter relatively often. We’ve decided to put up weekly archives of all our status updates here…and when we do have time, we’ll write up a bunch of proper blog posts about everything we’ve seen and done and post them retroactively. Keep checking back!

August 14th – Uzbekistan

Made it to Uzbekistan! Back online after the insane ferry across the Caspian Sea and 4 days in strange, strange Turkmenistan. Do we have stories to share! But first: some Z’s.

We got ourselves a convoy. Driving across Uzbekistan with a bunch of other ralliers we’ve been with since the Turkmen Ferry.

August 15th – Khiva, Uzbekistan

Following the Silk Road to Bukhara today. Gonna find one of these alleged silk worms one way or another.

Middle of the Desert, Uzbekistan. Temperature today: 47 Celsius (117 Fahrenheit).

The road from Khiva to Bukhara is the worst yet. It’s undergoing massive construction, which means we’re driving on the terrible, rutty, bouldery service road next to the highway for ten hours of bumps and bottom-outs.

There’s a fuel shortage in Uzbekistan (some say only 3 gas stations open in the entire country), so we had to buy gas on the black market from some guys with jugs on the side on the road. Big mistake. Dirty, low-octane garbage fuel made our car overheat in the middle of the desert and left us stranded for the night. Finally made it to Bukhara this morning after getting some good gas. Tomorrow: continuing on the Silk Road east as far as we can get.

August 16th – Bukhara, Uzbekistan

In Bukhara after a night stranded in the desert due to some nasty gas. Wasn’t all bad…we had a great time camping with our Canadian friends, Danica and Jess.

POLICE RAID! Just after we settled into our guesthouse, police swarmed in and shut it down for being an under the table establishment. Got detained and escorted out by the police as the owner threw a fit.

Aug 17th – Samarqand, Uzbekistan

Stopped for lunch (and to give away a few rubber duckies) in the beautiful city of Samarqand on our way toward the Tajikistan border. Dushanbe tomorrow.

The main border crossing is closed, so we have to go on a huge detour up north to enter Tajikistan. We’ve heard we can expect “absolutely shit” roads.

A dozen Uzbek Police cornered us at a roadside checkpoint at 2AM and tried to bribe us. We played dumb for a good half an hour until they got bored. No bribes, and back on our way!

August 18th – Northern Tajikistan

Spent the night sleeping in our car in No Man’s Land in between the Uzbek and Tajik border because they locked us inside the gates.

Crossed the border to Tajikistan, stopped to ask for directions, and ended up getting invited to eat breakfast with a guy and his 12 grandkids. The youngest boy was named “Genghis Khan.”

August 19th – Dushanbe, Tajikistan

In Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Took a full day to get here… over a mountain on a crazy dirt road and through a 5km dark tunnel with potholes. Now prepping for the Pamir.

Way, way up in the epic mountains of Tajikistan, and nowhere to go but higher. Pamir Highway tomorrow.

Alright. Good rest day. It’s 11:50pm in Dushanbe. Time for bed. Our Mongol Rally trek continues with our route taking us along the Pamirs and the Pamir Highway, the 2nd Highest highway in the world. Not sure when we will have internet again, so this will be our last update for now. See you on the other side!

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