Day 276: A country run dry

Not your everyday gas station

Getting around Uzbek at times feels like traveling to the end of the world. There seems to be fuel shortage here – some petrol stations are empty and deserted, some have hundreds of cars lining up outside. What a huge difference: in Turkmenistan they have gas burning to waste, in Uzbek the gas stations have run dry. And they’re neighbours.

It’s probably the toughest country we’ve traveled in so far. No intercity buses (because of the fuel shortage maybe) and even when there are they don’t have a schedule (runs when full). Trains between certain cities don’t run daily and finding out when they do is a game of charades with Russian speaking railway officers. This evening we arrived in the middle of nowhere to catch a night train which we thought departed at 8pm. No, there’s one departing at 1:40am so now we’re just riding out the cold, in a cold Soviet looking train station.

All that cash to pay for... some apples.

More interesting than the lack of transport infrastructure is the lack of appropriately denominated cash. The largest Uzbek bill is 1000 soms, equal to a black market rate of less than US$0.50. Paying for meals or transportation always involve the act of pulling out brick stacks of cash. I don’t even know how Uzbeks get around, their wallets must be the size of briefcases! How cool is that, carry a couple briefcases filled with cash like you were going to make some sorta gangsta deal when actually you’re just going to the market. ok I’m exaggerating but you get the picture.
KF looks like she’s living in a fridge, I’m gonna make her run around the station lobby. I hope tonight’s train will be warm. 2 more hours to go…

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One Comment

  1. Leslie says:

    Wow, seriously!All that for some apples!

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