Uzbekistan? Overchargistan!

Shaft us once, shame on you. Shaft us twice, shame on us. Try and shaft us repeatedly and charge our friends $1.00 for a few teaspoons of sugar, and we write a blog post about you. [Yes, one of our travel mates was repeatedly charged for sugar – and outrageous sums, no less.]

Apologies to all of our recently acquired Uzbek friends, but rip-offs in Uzbekistan – particularly along the touristy parts of the Silk Road – seem endemic.

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A Real Peek at Uzbekistan’s Silk Road: A Scavenger Hunt

We unintentionally followed the Silk Road in reverse order – from somewhere near its western end in Tbilisi, Georgia to its eastern terminus in Xi'an, China. Although our first taste of UNESCO Silk Road sites occurred in Turkmenistan (Merv), Uzbekistan is where the Silk Road unexpectedly reaches a sophisticated tourist marketing level.

Silk Road City - Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Silk Road city of Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Don't worry, we won't bore you with a bullet list of must-see Silk Road sites.

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Battle at the Border

kazakhstan battle

Have you ever watched the news and witnessed escaping refugees at a border crossing, crushed against iron bars like animals in a cage? You know the scene. Now superimpose two backpack-laden white faces onto that newsreel, throw in a few cries of “Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan” amongst the shrieks of old women and children being squashed in a sea of madness, and you would just begin to understand what we went through at the Uzbek-Kazakh border yesterday.

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Images from Uzbekistan

Taking advantage of free wireless internet in Tashkent, we've decided to conclude our time here by uploading photos from Uzbekistan's Silk Road.

Tashkent has been the most connected city in Central Asia thus far. Rather ironic considering Uzbekistan's penchant for blocking internet sites and restricting printed material. Just one of the many contradictions here.

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