Thursday, September 11, 2014

the chocolate bribe

Along with Tash Rabat, Bishkek was the other destination that we had anxiety about. Because Australia doesn't have a Uzbek embassy we needed to arrange to have our Uzbek visa sent to their embassy in Bishkek. And we had read of many difficulties with this embassy. We were cutting it fine by having a prepaid flight out of Bishkek the day after getting the visa.

Once we checked into our somewhat dubious hotel - which Paul described as possibly being a 'hot pillow hotel' we were dismayed to discover that no one spoke English. This was the first problem. In order to get our visa we first had to arrange an appointment the day before and had read there might not be English speakers manning the phones. So we hot footed it to the British embassy and asked them to phone our hotel and ask them to phone the embassy and make the appointment for us.

This they duly did, and we were dismayed to discover that we could not have an appointment until 5 days later. So after some amateur dramatic theatrics involving hair pulling and mock crying, the hotel rang the embassy back and after some lengthy Kyrgyz Konversation we were told we could have an appointment the following morning but we should take along chocolate!

We arrived to get our visas early and found a huddle of anxiety ridden tourists who had obviously been through a similar situation (but no sign of chocolate on any of them) and the rest of the process went reasonably smoothly. We even cracked a micro smile on the face of the female official processing the visas when we handed over the biggest box of chocolates we were able to find.

Bishkek was a little ... meh! One day would have suited if it hadn't been for the visa issue.

The following morning we caught a taxi to the airport at 4am to Osh on the Kyrgyz/Uzbek border.

From there it was a three hour taxi to the city of Kokand where we were spending a couple of nights.

Below are a selection of pix, the first from a mosque in Andijan which was on route to Kokand, then the Khodayakan Palace in Kokand and the last in the latters Joma mosque.

And changing money for the first time in Uzbekistan gave us this for our US$200:

1 comment:

Mike said...

Chocolates will be require to get back into Australia. 3451