Uzbek smiles lift the spirits
I’d just had an emotional border crossing from Kyrgyzstan into Uzbekistan. The crossing itself was pretty painless, albeit a little slow, but I’d met some amazing people in Kyrgyzstan, including our guide. After we all said farewell to her I started to think about all the people I’d met over the previous 4 months of my journey thus far, and it was like an uncontrollable wave of emotion flowed over me and I actually cried!
Maybe it was just tiredness, I don’t know…
So I really needed something to cheer me up as we drove on into the Uzbek part of the Fergana Valley. Things began to look up when we were joined by Sorat, our Uzbek guide. Sorat was great fun, although he seemed a little bewildered by the truck in which we were travelling. I don’t think he could quite believe that we’d been travelling in and living off this truck for months.
We stopped in the first town we came to in order to get currency, but the bank was closed. Our drivers, Clare and Dave, went with Sorat to find a ‘black market’ money changer and get us some Uzbek money.
In the meantime the truck was parked outside a clothing factory. Our big white and orange truck was beginning to attract the attention of the local school kids and the young women working inside the factory.
The workers were gathering in the windows, laughing and waving at us, and some of them came out and wanted to be photographed with us.
The Uzbek people are very welcoming and the smiling faces in the factory window were just the thing to lift my spirits after an emotional border crossing… I knew instantly that I was going to enjoy Uzbekistan!
Oh, and to top it all – I became a millionairre too!
Yes, a millionairre… well in Uzbek terms anyway. Uzbekistan is one of those countries where a little money can go a long way…