Cycling 12,000 miles from Lisbon to Shanghai
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Day 199 (13/1/10) – Tashkent

We are up early and down to the Chinese embassy by 8am, an hour before it opens. We have to put our name down on a list of people looking for appointments. Before we really know what is going on, at 9am, the security guard reads out ten names and hands out ten appointment cards. The people with cards are allowed in and most other people leave or, like us look around a bit confused! It turns out only the first ten names on the list get in today, we were number 18! We try, with our limited Russian to explain that our flight is tomorrow and beg to be let in. The guard eventually gives us a form and explains that we must fill it in, get copies of our passport and Uzbek visa and passport photos. We rush off to get all this done and leg it back as quickly as possible. When we return we are just told to wait and wait and wait. Eventually we try to clarify what is going on and after a good bit more waiting a woman who speaks some English appears and explains we will, probably, be seen today but must wait until the ten people inside are dealt with. We explain the urgency and she at least takes our forms, etc. back inside with her. After another hour or so of waiting and with closing time rapidly approaching, we are finally let in. Initially we are told by one chap that we don’t need visas. Another woman then chips in and they have a rapid debate in Chinese after which the guy tells us simply “We do visas – $180 please”. By this point we don’t care and just want to have the visas to avoid any chance of problems in China, so we hand over the cash and are told to come back at 5pm to pick up the visas. RESULT – finally.

The afternoon is spent at the Mirobod Bazaar scrounging cardboard boxes to use to try to protect the bikes a bit and then packing.

At 5pm prompt we are back at the Chinese embassy and collect our passport with shiny visas in them. At last we feel we can relax and try to enjoy the last 24hrs of our epic trip. We decide to treat ourselves to a night out and after a couple of drinks, head for dinner at a very nice Italian restaurant. It’s a lovely meal although a minor slip of concentration re-exchange rates when ordering the wine means we have to forego dessert and it takes about a two inch thick wad of the crazy Uzbek currency to settle the bill. Deciding that skipping pudding on our last night is not an option we pop back to the hotel to pick up another couple of bricks of toy town money and head out for icecream and a couple of light refreshments.

1 comment

1 Kirk { 11.16.14 at 5:51 pm }

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