Tea growing near Pu Mat National Park at Con Cuong, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Con Cuong (Pu Mat National Park), Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Friday, October 27, 2023

First day in Uzbekistan

It's Tuesday, and we are in the small city of Khiva, population about 90,000. The attraction here is Itchan Kala, the inner walled old city that has been in existence for about 1,500 years.

Itchan Kala was the first Uzbekistan attraction protected on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

(Still a couple of days behind on blog posts, but we're getting there!)

Our room rate here is 316,000 SOM ($26 USD, $36 CAD) per night. Most guest houses in Uzbekistan have breakfast included, and the Art Postindoz guest house is no different. It's a fairly basic place, but it gets fantastic reviews... mostly related to the hosts and the meals they cook!

Our dining room

We didn't have a chance to mention Ruth's gluten intolerance ahead of time, so she just ate what she could, and fortunately there was enough fruit and other stuff available that she didn't starve. The family is super friendly, and the young children take turns bringing things up the stairs for us to eat.

Hilola and her mother Durdona looked after us really well, and Hilola is a great cook! We explained as best we could via Google Translate about gluten, and Hilola said she could come up with something suitable for dinner if we liked, so we agreed. 

We decided to avoid the Itchan Kala area today, and set out to find a SIM card for the phone so we could have some internet access while out and about.

The entrance door to our guest house.

We are very close to the outside of the wall surrounding Itchan Kala.

While the foundations of the walls date back to the 10th century, 
the current structures were built in the late 1600's

Yes, this is part of the old Silk Road route.

First thing we had to do it to get some cash! We're carrying around some $USD which is a wise thing to do in this part of the world where ATM's can be hit or miss, but we don't want to use them up if we don't have to.

But I had read that ATM's are popping up all over the place over the last couple of years and are much more accessible than even five years ago.

The ATM we found was located right beside this Tourist Police shelter.

But the maximum amount you can take out is 500,000 SOM at a time. That's the equivalent of about $41 USD, or $57 CAD. Not very much money, however the ATM fee is a very low 7,500 SOM ($0.62 USD, $0.86 CAD) so you can do several transactions and not get penalized too much.

The main entrance gate that we will use Wednesday.

Fancy tower in the old city.

There are three different cellular providers here, and the one with the best coverage had their main office about 5 kms (3 miles) away, but we were due for some exercise, so off we went walking. Taxis are cheap here, but you see so much more this way.

This restaurant had lots of balloons out.

Big Uzbekistan flag.

Notice the beautiful blue sky. Temperature about 22C (71F). Perfect.

Old wooden doors.

We walked by an older guy tending to a garden. The language situation here is doubly difficult because the older generation speak Russian, and the younger generation speak Uzbek, which is similar to Turkish. So even learning the basic words and phrases takes twice as much effort... but we are trying!

Pretty butterfly.

Bee gathering pollen.

Lots of old Soviet style apartments.

School.

We walked the five kms to where the cell office was supposed to be, but Google Maps was totally wrong on this one. We ended walking to another road where we found a Beeline Uzbekistan location with a girl behind the desk. Again using Google Translate, we explained what we were looking for.

They have three different cellular packages geared towards visitors, and we chose the middle one with 20GB of cellular data. Most of the guest houses we will be staying at will have WiFi anyhow, so that should do us.

She asked for our passports. I had read that tourists have to be registered to get a SIM Card, so I was expecting this. 

And then she started working on it. And almost everything she did, she had to clarify with me. I get it, the language difference made it difficult, but after 45 minutes of this and still not being finished, I finally realized that she had never done one of these tourist cards before, because we weren't in a tourist area.

Another girl eventually came in and helped her, and between the two of them they got it done. I inserted the new SIM, and it connected right away.

We all heaved a sigh of relieve and she typed into Google Translate "God bless you" because she knew how patient we had been. We all laughed.

The two girls who got us online!

Cellular internet access is very cheap in Uzbekistan. 20 GB of data, along with many minutes and text messages cost 50,000 SOM ($4.10 USD, $5.70 CAD), plus another 10,000 SOM (a dollar) for the new SIM card.

On the way back, we walked by a market...

They use these big ovens to cook something.





We found a little hole in the wall place to have something to eat and ended up with the beef soup at 25,000 SOM ($2.05 USD, $2.85 CAD) per bowl. We noticed a girl who also looked foreign, and we asked if she spoke English.

TingTing is from China and is also a world traveler. She travels all kinds of countries totally solo, much to the consternation of her mother! She invited us to have lunch with her...

Kevin and TingTing.

This is where we had lunch.

Cotton is a popular agriculture product.

Back at the walled city.

Hilola had dinner ready for us, and it was fantastic... especially considering the price...

Stuffed cabbage rolls and salad with a whole pile of veggies.
Total cost was 100,000 SOM ($8.20 USD, $11.35 CAD)
For the two of us!

A good first day in Uzbekistan!

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Great deal on the popular and highly rated Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker.

And in Canada...

6 comments:

  1. I started traveling domestically when I was 14 years old. English was my first language and I learned Navajo while growing up. Thinking back, I was oblivious to many dangers for a young girl to travel alone. Now, we have kidnappings and such....I don't think we had much of that type of crime back then. Bravo for young single women who travel alone. BTW maybe Marco Polo traveled through this city since it's the silk road.

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    1. The dangers may not have been as great back then or maybe you just didn't hear about it on the media like you do these days with social media added into the mix.

      We think any solo female young or not is brave our books, especially in some of these oddball countries that aren't high on the tourist list.

      Marco Polo did go to Bukhara but not sure that he was in Khiva.

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  2. I met you guys at the flying field in Galeta….just wanted to say so amazing following you and your amazing travel stories… you guys do what alot of people dream of…me included!

    Rob

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    1. Thank you so much! We have to admit we don't remember exactly who you are as we did talk to a number of people at the flying field but we appreicate you taking the time to comment and for following along on our crazy adventures.

      We sure did enjoy our time watching you guys flying those planes, there were some pretty impressive planes and flying technique there. I think we visited the field at least three times over the years. :-)

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  3. I just find how other peoples live, it is so interesting and you guys are fearless!!! Certainly to be commended for all the people you interact with and friends you make!

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    1. We love seeing how other people live, that is one of the main reasons why we travel. It is fun meeting the locals as well as other like minded travelers. I wouldn't say we are fearless but we are willing to take on almost anything, I think I have my limits more than Kevin though, lol!

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