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Tuesday, Took Shared Taxis from Dushanbe, Tajikistan to Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Up and out of the hotel by 07:00. Took a taxi 10 km north to the area where the shared taxis leave for Panjakent. Went through the usual chaos of being swarmed by the drivers and them trying to pull the bags out of my hands. Figured out who was the fullest and would leave first and went with him. I only had to wait about 15 minutes and we took off. It was an old man in the front seat and two old ladies and a kid in the back seat with me.

The driver was taking all of the mountain curves at full speed throwing us all around in the back seat. I got queasy and luckily had some plastic baggies to throw up into. I don't eat on travel days so it was all liquid but still pretty nasty with the clear baggies. For once the people stopped staring at me for awhile and the little girl looked especially disgusted and a little queasy herself. I need to learn how to vomit more quietly since I make a very loud and hearty 'ralph' noise. I immediately felt better for awhile but then I had to do it again and this time a lot more came out.

At Panjakent I found a money change office right by the bazaar and exchanged all of my Taj somoni for Uzbek somoni. The exchange is 1000 to 1 so you get a big wad of bills. Caught a full taxi to the border which is about 20 minutes away.

There was a crowd at the Taj exit but the border officer called me out of the line to go ahead. Finally some benefit to being a tourist! He was friendly and wanted to speak English. Then walked about 100 meters to the Uzbek entry where there was no line and they were also extra friendly.

Went through the taxi driver frenzy again on the Uzbek side. Found a marshrutka that was almost full and we took off. It took about an hour to get to Samarkand and the driver dropped us off by the Registon at the center of the city. My hotel was only about two blocks away and easy to find.

Spent the rest of the day trying to find an ATM that worked. Apparently this is a big problem in Uzbekistan. I had spent all of my Uzbek somoni for the taxis so and only had enough money for a coke and some cookies. The coke refreshed my pukey mouth. No luck with the ATM's but I found a souvenir vendor who changed 20 USD for me so I could at least eat something.


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