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Bordercrossing Uzbekistan – Kazakhstan - By Jeroen Bleker

Tashkent, September 4, 2016

The death of the Uzbekistan president made us change our plans drastically. With a mourning country, all the events we had planned in Uzbekistan were cancelled. To get the best out of the limited time we have, we decided to ride straight into Kazakhstan. We left from Samarkand, the city where the funeral of the president took place.

The bumpy roads led us to the border between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The country we expected to sleep that night is normally easy to enter: no visa is needed. The last police stop in Uzbekistan concluded that our vehicles were not insured sufficiently, although we have a global insurance that covers damage to other parties. Our guide and Stephan went into the office while the team waited in the burning sun. The solution? A bribe! We were free to go into Kazakhstan!

The Kazak side of the border turned out to have the same problem we face very often: there was no internet connection! Without internet, the officers were unable to register our vehicles, so we had to wait… We offered our KPN cellular date, we called the embassies and we made friends with the guards, but nothing helped.

The 20 meters of border took an exhausting 10 hours (reminded us of entering Turkey). The trucks on the other side were a bit jealous that we got through, and tried to block our way out, nice guys… we felt even worse when we arrived at the hotel at 4AM, which turned out to be closed. Luckily, we ended up in a hotel nearby where we could conclude one of the most boring days so far.

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