Sunday, Border Crossing Tashkent to Shymkent

Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Had breakfast at the hotel at 07:00 and then paid for my two nights in USD.  The clerks were still groggy so I was able to get rid of one of my torn 20s which nobody else would take.

Took the bus to the metro then took the green line to the last stop, Shahriston.  Caught a couple of buses going north until I got to the spot beside the road where the marshrutkas leave for the border.  The border is in the suburbs of Tashkent and we never really left the city.

The marshrutka stopped at a little market area about 500 meters from the border.  At the market I was able to change all of my somoni to tenge with some random black market guys and then go to the bathroom.  I walked the rest of the way to the border and joined the hoards heading for Kazakhstan.

The exit from Uzbekistan was crowded but people weren't cutting in line very much because other people were yelling at them.  When it was my turn, I clogged up two lines because the border guys seemed baffled by my passport and visa.  They finally figured it out and stamped me out.

The Kazakhstan entry was a nasty mob scene because everybody was crammed into a semi-narrow lane and then a few were let in at a time.  There were at least 100 people crammed in there waiting.  I finally got in the door but didn't have an immigration form so I paid a lady to fill one out for me.  She was already set up and doing them for other people and was charging under a buck for the service.  The whole border crossing took about an hour and was the worst crossing in the four "stans" that I traveled through (Kaz, Uzb, Taj, and Kyrgyzstan). I would have gone to Turkmenistan but the visa was too complicated because you have to book a tour to get a visa.

On the Kazakhstan side a lady money changer latched onto me and I finally had to use my translator app to tell her to leave me alone.  

I found the marshrutka to Shymkent which took about two hours and only cost 700 tenge (about 2 USD).   It was a nice comfortable ride and, as usual, the people wanted to know where I was from.  Then as other people got on the bus they would fill them in on my details. I know when they are talking about me because they always say "tourist".

In Shymkent the minibus went right into the center and I got out just a few blocks from the hotel that I had reserved. It was nice to be back in civilization where there are ATM's that work and credit cards are accepted.

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