Kabul – A Midnight Jog

Kabul taxi, can be dangerous day or night People tend to have more things to say when they are angry or disappointed. And today I do the same. I regret I didn’t tell you earlier how I was impressed by hospitality of Kabul taxi drivers, who usually refuse to receive money from a foreign guest (only lip service mostly, but anyway it makes me happy), but now I have to tell a scary experience with a Kabul driver. I was invited by a friend to a dinner in Wazir Akbar Khan area, the rich part of Kabul where many embassies, foreign organizations, and expatriate housings are located. I usually don’t stay until late night, but yesterday we talked until completely forgetting about the time. At the end, an AFP French reporter friend of mine realized that it was already 10:30, and we had to leave. She offered me to walk together to the main road, from where I can find taxi to go home and she went back to her house on foot. We walked together to the direction of the main road. Usually, at this inconvenient time of the day, taxis are hard to find. But God-knows-why, we found [...]

January 9, 2008 // 0 Comments

Bukhara – Another Incident

My blury photos of Bukhara reflect my blurry mood My days in Uzbekistan seems never be far from incidents. Earlier in Tashkent I lost 400 US$ cash stolen. The other day in Samarkand I broke my camera. Then in Ferghana I experience some night hours in police station. Today, after the surprising climax that I will be thrown to my zero point, I have to experience other incidents at the last legs of this journey. I took a night bus from Tashkent to Bukhara. But I came late. When I arrived in bus station near the Sabir Rahimov Metro Station, the latest to Bukhara had departed. But there was another bus departing to Navoi, 2 hours before Bukhara, and I decided to take this night bus. It was 8 p.m. when I got in. But not until 11 the bus started the engine. I fell asleep since I got seated. Today was an exhausting day, as I was hunting for flight ticket to Malaysia and the fact that I am going home still shocked me. The journey to Navoi takes about 5 hours at night. I couldn’t remember anything, but I notice that people sitting next to me always change. [...]

January 25, 2007 // 1 Comment

Ferghana – Police Department Visit

The journey to Ferghana, passing through very high snowy passes. Ferghana valley might be the widest valley in the world. A huge area surrounded by great mountains, sliced into portions of three countries (Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan) by only-God-knows-how-it-works border lines. I am always interested in visiting Ferghana Valley and experience the life here. Ferghana is said to have the purest Uzbek culture. The people of Andijan is said to speak the purest form of Uzbek language. Ferghana (Fergana, Farghona) is also a hotbed in Uzbekistan. The radical Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan forced Karimov to send troops to secure the area (thus sacrificing some of the civilians) and even force the smaller neighboring countries to support Uzbekistan’s government move against the militants. Karimov actions not only gained protest worldwide (remember demonstration in front of Uzbek embassy in Jakarta) but also difficult times with other Central Asian republics. The people of Ferghana is said to be religious, much more compared to other parts of Uzbekistan. But this also result cynical jokes from other parts of the country. The term ‘Namangani’ or ‘Namanganlik’, literally means ‘someone from Namangan’, now have extended meaning of ‘to be gay’. It is said that men of [...]

January 16, 2007 // 1 Comment

Garmao – The Journey to Jam

Travellers (musafirs) sleeping on the floor of restaurant along the central route of Afghanistan. The restaurants also serve as hotel for passengers. Along the isolated Central Route, the most common way of travelling is by hitchhiking a truck, like these. “Peida misha (it will be found)” – a passenger from Herat Same quote as a previous post from Iran, same story to be happened (again). After waiting for two days for transport heading east from Chisht, at last I found these two trucks. They were repairing the broken trucks when I came there out of the Chisht bazaar together with Abdurrahman, a boy from the village. Kalendar, one of the truck drivers, agreed to take me. But I had to wait 2 more hours until they finished repairing the broken truck. The night before, I had talked with another truck driver in the Iqbal restaurant to take me to Kamenj. The driver quoted astronomical price of 500 Af for the ride (normal price was 100 Af by truck). I bargained it down until 150 Af. He agreed and told me to be prepared at 8 a.m. But this was a Persian taarof culture, refusing but avoiding saying ‘no’. The truck [...]

September 13, 2006 // 0 Comments