April 26, 2013
It was pretty obvious from the clouds, that it was going to be a cool, 60 degree, overcast day in Tashkent. When I told the hotel owner that I wanted to check out a day earlier so I could get out of Tashkent, he told me that I could but I would have to pay the tax for the second night, which amounted to half the cost. In Uzbekistan, you must be permitted to host foreigners and pay a tax for that priviledge. Since I had told him I would stay two nights originally, he went registered me for two nights and paid the tax as such. What I get in return is a slip of paper proving that I stayed there. I have to keep these pieces of paper (and any overnight bus/train tickets) when I leave Uzbekistan to account for my whereabouts while in the country. This is no joke. If you lose them or have large holes in the record, you could be fined hundreds of dollars.
As much as I wanted to get out of the city, I had to admit that I wasn’t feeling that well. I wasn’t certain whether it was allergies or a head cold, but I had little energy for traveling or sight seeing. So, I came up with an alternative itinerary that would start the next day and just chill. That meant a mid-morning nap instead of doing my laundry, since rain was threatening.
When I woke up, Charles and Pierre were packing their bikes for the flight home. Since they didn’t have proper bike boxes, they had to improvise with awkwardly sized boxes and lots of packing tape. So, I helped rather than watch them struggle. Once done, we went for lunch and I tried to see a historic site nearby only to find that my walk in the rain had been for naught. It was closed for renovation, so I went to get on Facebook. EXCITING!
Honestly, though, I really needed a day where I did little. I had been hustling for 10 days, and it finally caught up with me. Besides, another well-spoken French guy, Arnaud, was headed the same direction tomorrow, so it would be nice to have someone along to share in the adventure. We would leave at 8AM, sharp.