Our first stop was Jizzak, where lived the guy -found on Couchsurfing- who wrote our invitation letter to get our visa. We thought it’d be nice to visit him and greet him in person. We cycled on a beautiful new road, under the heat, and arrived in the area in the evening. Jizzak is surrounded by mountains ; the first ones we see after more than 2000 km on the flat. Our (new) friend is working for Ucell, an uzbek mobile operator, and it was his birthday. We joined his birthday dinner with his colleagues in a restaurant, had great food and shared vodka-it’s been a long time- with Ucell local manager.
We packed the next morning, went to visit his office, and got new contacts from the Ucell branche of our next destination, Guliston. The landscapes got flat again, and the highlights of the day were the refreshing stops in the irrigation pipelines of the coton fields (the ones that emptied the Aral sea), where the locals take a swim. Not too sure how clean the water is, but it is impossible to refuse a swim when it is so hot outside. In the evening, we met our contact from Ucell, who arranged us a room in a hotel, and who came with us to eat in a nice restaurant (again .
The 3rd day of ride wasn’t much different than the previous one. We broke a new record in the morning : 3 flat tires in 15km. We fixed them in a village and got obliged by 2 old men to eat a lot of watermelon. We stopped in the afternoon in another irrigation river, swam in there, played with the many kids who were cooling down, and even rode a donkey . In the evening, we ate and slept in a Chaikhana, as the owners were happy to let us stay there for the night.
Uzbekistan has a strange rule for foreigners, who are supposed to register themselves and get an official stamp at least each 3 days, so the government can trace where you are. As we are cycling and do not really fit in those policies, it has been an effort for us to get those proofs, and tried to find hotels with official stamps when we could, which wasnt easy. The next day, in Angren, we slept in a ‘hotel’ to get a stamp. It was an old soviet, dirty flat infected by mosquitos, where we had to set up to the tent in the living room to avoid the bites. In the morning, an army of them was waiting for us to wake up on the net of the tent. Trying to fight was useless and we prefered to surrender, and leave this place as soon as we could.