It took one long day to get down from the mountains back to Tashkent and then on to Andijon for the night, and the next morning I crossed into Kyrgyzstan. The Andijon-Osh border crossing is only open for foreigners but still the guards needed help in understanding that ‘The Netherlands’ = ‘Holland’ (well, more or less but let’s not confuse them even more).

After getting into the process of bureaucracy and trying to get on friendly terms with the man with the stamp, it was pointed out to me that I needed to show a copy of the customs declaration form that I had filled in when I entered Uzbekistan. Hm, ouch, I didn’t have this. The strategy to ignore the guys in front of me (who where uttering different varieties of ‘not possible’) and direct my questions to the ranking officer worked and after 15 minutes of discussions and fiddling with papers it was decided that I would declare nothing and just move on. After walking the no-man’s land to the Kyrgyz side I was ready for anything but they just gave my passport and visa a quick glance over and I got a stamp and the customary ‘Welcome to Kyrgyzstan’ handshake.

This is what 'hitching' a ride is like in central asia. I've tried standing next to the road but here the difficulty is not to get a car to stop (that will happen in a heartbeat), it's that you'll spend 10 minutes debating where it is going and then what the price would be. Since everybody moves around in 'shared taxis' they don't understand the concept of hitch-hiking as we know it; it's a simple price per seat policy. So it's just easier to go to the 'shared-taxi stand' for your destination (which can be hard to find sometimes) and then bargain hard.
Along the river in the middle of Osh is a big park which has some beer/tea gardens, some themepark like rides, a ferris wheel and for some reason a full Yak-40 airplane.
Sunset over the quite religious Osh. Here you hear the Azan again multiple times per day, in Uzbekistan the president forbid it after some problems with Islamic extremists.

2 thoughts on “Osh”

  1. Hey Wouter,

    It was again good to hear from you accompagnying with pictures and stories.
    Nice and interesting stories what you have experienced in Kyrgystan sofar.
    I am anxious for learning your travelplans to beat China



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