It took us the whole night to cover the way from Samarkand to Tashkent. The distance is just 305 km, so it looked like our destination is just four or five hours away. Why so long? The thing is that, we spent the previous day driving, working, meeting people in Samarkand and decided to set to Tashkent only at night. That was not the best of roads with plenty of pits every now and then and high traffic even in the dark. To make a long story short, we got quite tired and decided to stop for a night right on the roadside. So, we arrived in Uzbek capital early in the morning. Right away we headed to the German Embassy where we had a meeting with the Ambassador and participated in press-conference with Uzbek media.
At the conference, Rainer was very detailed about his activities and our current project, sharing the peculiarities of the route we pursued and his impressions about the countries we have already visited. Then after a Q & A session we invited everyone to get acquainted with our car. The reporters were very curious (in the best sense) and asked us a lot of questions about our trip. When Rainer got away to give an interview to a TV channel, I had to stand in as a speaker. Generally, we were very warmly received in Tashkent. Рeople were greatly interested in and attentive to our race, and we are very grateful to them!
After visiting the Embassy, we went to the hotel to get around and do some work. I had to board a plane to Moscow already at 5 p.m. I’ll have to spend 10 days away from my team until our Volkswagen Tiguan arrives in Shanghai. My teammate Dmitry Makarov will take my place. I know that he has already arrived in Uzbek capital, as we met in the airport. Now I turn it over to Dmitry who will tell you how the team spent the rest of the day.
Finally, there came the moment when I joined Rainer and the other guys participating in this world record. I had visited Uzbekistan several times, but had already forgotten the distinctive character of this country meeting you with its traditions and local Asian zest as early as at the airport.
“Is it hot? Now it’s only +38 °C. The most difficult days are gone, consider yourself lucky,” the taxi driver whose assistance I had just refused continued the dialogue. The Volkswagen Tiguan came into view at the entrance to the airport parking lots, so I breathed a sigh of relief.
After brief and emotional greeting, it became apparent that everything had to be done at a certain fast pace. 10 minutes on seeing Pyotr off (he will be joining us at the start of the record race in Shanghai), a short briefing and transfer to the hotel where Alex was dealing with a video from Iran. One hour and a half was enough for me to understand the exact role of mine in this project, so I got down to sorting out the photos left by Peter.
After dinner I had to leave the comfortable hall of the Hayat hotel for the Tiguan back seat (it was partially occupied with the second spare wheel). It is not as spacious as the standard configuration, but still extremely cozy. Moreover, the road was really decent at first.
After it got dark, having settled and fixed my workspace, I realized this expedition would not be a piece of cake. During my similar trips I was not to continuously work with pictures on the move. But this new experience seems very valuable.
Close to midnight, everyone got tired: Reiner, who was driving the car, me, who was working at the computer somehow or other, and Alex, who seemed to be waiting for bedtime. We did not even look for a hotel: we stopped and slept until the morning in the nearest safe place somewhere in the mountains.
Author: Peter Bakanov, Dmitry Makarov