News from the frontline !!!!
The sun sets on Tashkent
It all begins with a 20-year-old, very
generously endowed waitress, wearing what is a really form-fitting top. A surrealist vision after Uzbekistan, where all the women wear large floral robes and are content to spend
their days cooking or spraying the ground to cool it off. We were 150 kilometres from the city and this lovely Russian spoke fluent Uzbek. A few kilometres from there, a sign in
Cyrillic featured the magic word "café", which I thought had given way forever to "teahouse" after reaching Kazakhstan.
From that point, things happened very quickly: a tune I recognised on the radio, more and more Russians, Uzbeks who speak Russian to each other and no one even says hello to us …
Where are we heading? Have I travelled around the world? Am I back where I started? My Lord, a miniskirt! A thong! These Uzbeks are certainly sexy! More so than their mates' floral
phantoms! Is this it? The end of the road? The city? It's Tashkent! A name I've uttered at least 10 times a day over the last 4 months! It's Sunday night and the sun is setting over
the city and this dream. This biking adventure is now becoming part of the past. I'm already a little older. It's psychological, I can feel my muscles getting flaccid, I'm no longer
at my physical apogee … Help!
Everything ends here, as if to prove to us that further East does not necessarily mean more exotic. We've practically only seen Russians here and in Samarkand. They've deserted
little towns and villages. And like in Kazakhstan, they're slowly but surely being ousted from high-ranking administrative jobs. The country's only decent university makes an Uzbek
What would this city be without them? Would it be like any other third world capital. Will the West arrive here in the same way? Will we see the young and the grunge getting zonked
out on video games? Those slant-eyed Lolitas on the dance floors? I've never seen anywhere in the world where city and country are literally worlds apart. Which will win the battle?
I climbed off my bike and sat down facing the statue of Tamberlane. The one replacing Marx. Well, whoever it represents, the statue is a popular backdrop with photo-clicking locals.
I tried to take stock of everything that's happened over the past few months. So much emotion in such a short time. I've realised that this whole experience has just whet my appetite
for even more adventure.
But first, I need some rest. I'm returning to France mid-August, after a short trip (without my bike) to the mountains and lakes of Kyrgyzstan. I want to talk about everything I've
experienced these last months. I want to talk… talk to you. So give me a call. Invite me out for a drink, a meal.
We will also be sharing this adventure and all we've experienced throughout the trip in a more formal way, with conferences, photo exhibitions and projections of films we've shot,
which should help us cover some of our expenses as well. Here again, invite us, give us your ideas, contacts, etc.. We're looking forward to talking, listening, exchanging ideas… And
we can't do it without you! The ball is now in your court. Don't give all our emotions the time to dissipate. We have to get together with you.
In a few weeks, you'll be receiving a number of e-mails keeping you posted on upcoming events. And tune in to the www.3600km.net web site because there will surely be some more news
sent from Kyrgyzstan.
Registan in Samakand
Independent Uzbekistan needed a national hero to forge an identity. This was Tamberlane, who made Samarkand the capital of his kingdom. Few people know that he was not an
|Above all, Tashkent is about buildings, statues and fountains. Not much really to write home about!
Other traveller's tales