Riding the dust – to Termez

18 October 2013

Sitting in a car for 7 hours of dust is no fun. The first 80km stretch from Samarkand to Shahrisabz was very scenic with noodle strip roads draped across mountains of golden trees. Thereafter, it was nothing but arid land, cotton fields and several checkpoints. Here, police like to check travellers’ passports and scribble down their information on thick notebooks for reasons unfathomable; “registration” so they say. Even locals have to travel with their passports.

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Dry lands for most of the journey

Even in autumn, the afternoon sun is relentless. People wondered why I am going to Termez. “Do you work in Afghanistan?” No, I don’t. Went to the border near the Armu Darya River. No chance of going closer to the Afghan-Uzbek Friendship bridge though it can be seen from a distance. My poor car mate (who is in fact working in Afghanistan in humanitarian aid) was to traipse in the hot sun with her luggage, a stretch of 800m road sealed off by the Uzbek border control. I hope she doesn’t make it too late across the border. Nearby, ladies were working in the cotton fields.

Right now I am in an old soviet style building converted into a hotel where German soldiers used to be stationed. I will find out tomorrow whether Termez is worth the trouble of a detour from the standard famous cities in Uzbekistan.

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