Monday, June 22, 2009


Uzbekistan has one major problem. The food is just horrendous. My body just wont accept it. Nothing is staying down. Crossing the relativity ok Kyzylkum desert directly after the difficult Karakum has just shook me up a lot. And now I just cannot get decent food. Every town in Ireland has a Chinese, an Indian and possibly an Italian restaurant. In Dublin you will find everything from American fast food outlets to Argentinean steak houses, Mongolian, French, Moroccan, Thai.... The list goes on and I'm making myself hungry. But I've never come across a Uzbekistan restaurant. The reason is simple. Dogs back home would turn their nose away from this dirt. Apart from 3 days of wonderful food at a home stay in Bukhara, most of my food is coming from truckstops, or choyhonas as they are known here. Most tourists who come to Uzbekistan probably visit a city, hop on a bus for 6 hours and then visit another city and so on. But for most cyclists, a 6 hour bus run is at least 3 days on a bike. Of the 11 cyclists I have met in Uzbekistan, 7 have complained of different degrees of food poisoning. (And the other 4 aren't long here). My diet has consisted mainly of fat, onions, grizzle, liver, weeds, chickpeas, bones, bread and tea. The filthy dirty and diluted fuel in Turkmenistan put an end to my stove so I'm cooking by campfire. This was ok in the desert but in these more populated area, the fire draws the attention of everyone. In the evenings its nice to have a little time to yourself,plus I sleep better when people don't know where I camp before it gets dark.But its not just a stomach ache I'm getting. Visa complications are causing a headache too. My next planned country is Kyrgyzstan but there is a lot of conflicting information both online and from fellow travellers about the Fergana valley. This is the border region between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan and there's seems to have been some kind of unrest in this region and apparently the border is presently closed to foreigners. If this remains the case, then I will be forced north through Kazakhstan. That means another visa and I will have to retreat from the cooler mountains and back down towards the Muyunkum desert. All things considered Uzbekistan is proving quite hard.....

No comments: