Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Stolen Bike and a Central Asian Heatwave

My bike was stolen on the road out of Samarkand. Woke up in the morning, crawled out of the tent and it was gone. Exactly 90 days of being wed to the saddle and it was all over.
I made it to the police station but wasn't looking very good. All they wanted to do was slowly flick through my passport, a right monkey operation. Then the captain appeared, got angry with me and everyone else and then we were back at my campsite. More police than I could count, thirty or forty, being led by the grumpy captain screaming orders. They found some tyre marks and dissappeared into the scrub tracking them.

After a horrible 14 hours scratching around the police station and considering continuing my bike ride on a one speed gentlemans racer, my bike was found.
It wasn't quite as dramatic as the great mongolian horse robbery, it turned out to be two boys riding a donkey and cart that came past my campsite after i'd gone to bed. The police were very proud of their crime solving skills. They filmed me cycling around and paying tribute to the efficiency of the Uzbekistan police force, they wanted to use the video for the national police day celebration in November.

Got back on the road and discovered that the old silk road here is now a four lane motorway, don't know what else I was expecting. I'm in Tashkent now, a not unpleasant place, kissing ass in a couple of embassies (yes sir, of course sir, three bags full sir) trying to secure some more visas. Lots of pretty girls in Tashkent...note to self: Must buy some decent clothes. From here i'll head back into Kazakhstan, to Almaty and then onto China. I'm detouring around Kyrgyzstan and Kashgar to try and stay ahead of the winter.

It's been getting hotter and hotter as i've travelled through Uzbekistan. I finish everyday cycling covered in a fine layer of salt from sweating. I was expecting Uzbekistan to be in the grip of winter right now but it's roasting. I'm not complaining but it's abit unsettling, feel like i'm being setup for a sucker punch by mother nature.


Anonymous said...

hey ham, how fairs thee? its john here seans little aussie mate you met in england. you might not remember me as i'm not that important! sean sent me your blog sight and i've just been reading some of your adventures. your my hero, i just got off the phone to sean and talked him into riding with me (albeit that he is in england and i in australia) and meeting up with you..... dont get too excited though as it is very doubtful. so stealing a foreigners bike in samarkand is a serious offence i hear, serious enough for them to send out their elite team of bike trackers to solve the case. those damned donkey and cart riding samarkand juveniles! anyway mate, great stories i'm enjoying reading all of them and they are very motivating for me to get off my fat little ass and go and see more of this beautiful world of ours. good luck and happy adventures, i'm looking forward to the next chapter of this gripping epic, its got me hooked!!! take care john.

Hamada said...

John, of course I remember you! I tried to forget you but I couldn't :-)
Your in perth now right? I now know 4 people in Perth so I might have to visit. If you're up for some adventure, how about "Pogo sticks across the Nullarbor" we could get sponsorship and everything.

Anonymous said...

Ham me little matey, how rude pinching your bike!! I mean riding through liverpool yes but two boys in a donkey cart (are you sure they wernt scoucers?)
But o joy they have found it for you so the journey continues!!!

Happy riding!! take care.

XX jules

Anonymous said...

PS: When you come home you have got to watch the film Borat!!! it is the man who played Ali G & he is from Kazakstan??? (cant spell) & im sure thats where you have been?? Put that on a must to do list!!!

Jules & Karl xx