Day 17 - To the mountains!

Scout Tour: From Venice to Shanghai (July 24th to August 19th)

Waking up at five in the morning and going further without thinking twice is usual for traveling, isn’t it? It turned out that we had spent the night almost in the mountains. Having driven just a few tens of kilometers on the morning, but already busy road from Tashkent to Andijan, we moved beyond the mountain pass, with the Uzbek plain and the border lying ahead of us. The road seemed to be good, but sometimes there were really deep and, which was especially unpleasant, unexpected pits. So we had enough of proves that the decision to install Eibach springs was absolutely reasonable. They enhanced our safety today, and I am sure they will deliver further on the road. Moreover, Rainer pointed up the road conditions in Turkmenistan turned out to be worse than we expected, so this circumstance would hinder the world record.

I was surprised to see a lot of cars on the road in Uzbekistan (to be honest, we expected to see fewer trucks and lorries). However, the country runs short of petrol. Most people use gas, while those rare stations where the traditional fuel is still sold experience huge queues. But this problem was actually anticipated, and a 150 l extra fuel tank in the luggage compartment allowed us to feel relaxed in terms of fuel supply. And yet, the Uzbek traffic did not knocked us sideways: we were quick enough to find ourselves on the border and were just as quick to pass it. The border guards and customs officers of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan were really hospitable and welcoming. In Uzbekistan, many of them had watched a TV coverage about our journey. They would approach us and say “We have seen you! It is nice you help children!” So passing the border turned out to be quick, about an hour and a half only.

Kyrgyzstan met us with its friendly taxi drivers and the requirement to pay a 1,000-som “environmental fee” (about 15 USD). Here, we decided to fill our two tanks with 95-petrol and find a good place to send photos and have lunch. We managed to cope with the first task on our own, while a local taxi driver helped us with the second one. He attended us, shared all the information, helped in taking photos if the car and even took part in the rescue of some unfortunate guy whose old Nissan broke on the bridge across the river. However, the cost of his services increased by two times during this time as to the initially agreed. Still, it was acceptable, 400 soms (about 7 USD).

However, we still had another challenge: it was important to get to the mountains before the sun went down. So we moved towards the border in an hour. Along the way, we stopped at the market and met a small family living in a completely authentic environment near the road and engaged in the breeding of cattle.

But all these impressions faded as the mountains appeared on the horizon. Had not we constantly shouted out to Alexander, our operator, I think we wouldn't have moved until nightfall. The mountains always affect people in such a way: just look at them, and they will instantly relieve your fatigue and any sadness. There was only one thing that bothered our friend: the quadcopter for filming as left in Bulgaria as Kyrgyzstan banned them.



Author: Dmitry Makarov