Touring Tashkent, Uzbekistan

26-27 September 2022

Tash is very clean and safe with a plethora of sweepers and police

Tashkent is a city of very modern buildings interspersed with some ugly Soviet relics, green manicured parks, fountains, and a very organized traffic system. Except for closing down the streets and having armed guards every 100 feet, severe restrictions as to where you can take a picture without being shot, all in the “protection” of their president, Tashkent is really a beautiful walking city. They even have an artsy metro in the vein of the famous Soviet metro.

Cameras, and heavily armed guards, are everywhere. So is the flashy Hyatt Regency, a high rise Ramada Inn though our guide says “remodeled by Ramada but smells like Soviets,” trendy shopping like Armani and Apple, kiosks to buy a chizburger or Gamburger, and one of the best traffic systems I’ve experienced. Every light is timed and pedestrians obey them.



26 September 2022

I keep reading about colorful straws served with beer. Haven’t been able to confirm this. No straw with beer because no beer. But did get a bright blue flex straw with my coffee latte this morning.

Today we are driven to the Tajikistan/Uzbekistan border. We were warned that it can be a difficult crossing as the “No man’s land” is long and you have to carry your luggage. Additionally, it is partial gravel, computers are really slow, it is very hot with no shade and we find miles of trucks waiting to cross. It all spells c.h.a.o.s.


Day-Tripping in Uzbekistan – the White Car Khanate

23 September 2022

The White Car Khanate and vibrant commerce of Uzbekistan

What a difference a border makes. Although it looks chaotic, was a bit slow and bureaucratic, and the temperatures were heating up, it was clear we had entered into a new country and a new culture. Immediately one begins to see the Persian influence in faces and architecture.

There were few smiles getting stamped out of Kyrgyzstan. However, the “Welcome to Uzbekistan” and smile from Uzbek immigration was refreshing. He asked a few questions, like was I from the United States and do I speak English. Strange considering he was looking at my American passport, but welcoming all the same. Quite a contrast to what we’ve seen in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.


Osh, Kyrgyzstan

22 September 2022

Short flight Bishkek to Osh

This morning I am flown out of Bishkek’s Manas International Airport for Osh, the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan. With a population a little over 208,000, Osh is located in the Fergana Valley. I was prepared for chaos at the airport but it went smoothly. Security to enter and security at every doorway, had to remove shoes and still have a pat down. Short 45 minute flight to Osh, didn’t leave on time, but quick exit at Osh and on time for lunch.

First, a few words about flying in Kyrgyzstan:



20-21 September 2022

This morning we depart lovely Lake Issyk Kul and retrace some of our route west before turning north to Bishkek. There are not a lot of roads here, basically up and down the valleys with little more than hiking trails over the mountains. I think locals like it that way.

Muslim cemetery and mountain glaciers of Kyrgyzstan
Hours wait at border

Along this 160-mile route, following the twisting Chu River and running parallel to the Kazakhstan border for miles, is the true land of the Kyrgyz: Muslim cemeteries, mosques, small villages, farmers, smelly toilets, interesting and decorative landslide barriers, and truck stops. At a border crossing into Kazakhstan, trucks are lined up for miles. No one seems to care that bureaucracy is creating chaos with goods and services. A trucker could sit in line for days.


Mountains and Valleys of Kyrgyzstan

18 – 19 September 2022

It’s Sunday and after a hearty breakfast we board our large and comfortable bus and drive to Issyk-Kul Lake. The road travels west within the valley before rounding the mountains in a southerly direction and looping east around the mountain to go up the next valley and the northern shore of the lake. All the while we are bracketed by tall mountains. The bus travels about 100 miles but takes us over three hours. Passage is slow.