uzbekistan sleepless nights

Andijan, Uzbekistan. July 2019


crazy heat and sleepless nights

The world is evolving in many a positive way! When I was making my plans one year ago, I decided to go around Uzbekistan because its visa rules and border policies made it too complicated for me. But as I make my way down through Kyrgyzstan, good news arrives from fellow travelers. Uzbekistan is undergoing a serious liberalization and its borders are now open to foreigners, visa-free! Not only this allowed me to go through instead of the long way around, but I could discover some of its people and culture which I highly regard.

In fact, the people were so generous it was embarrassing. I hadn’t even finished crossing the border and the first Uzbek man I meet asks me “Do you have any money?” I answer hesitantly “yeah, a bit…” “I mean, Uzbek money! Here is your first bill, as a welcome gift!”

And that was just a drop in the ocean of the immeasurable kindness I encountered there. And yet, my little bit through Uzbekistan was one of the most difficult. This was the hottest region of my trip, which, thanks to my ingenious planning, I happened to be crossing at the hottest time of the year. It was hot. The mid-afternoon sun almost had me pass out and I couldn’t even consider going further. But I had to do my distance because the Chinese visa date is near, and missing it is not an option. So here was my plan: walk all night, walk half the day, and find a cool shady area in the afternoon to fit a bit of sleep into my life.

The only problem was, a “cool area in the shade” was a long shot, and reality turned out a bit less cool and shady then my silly ideas. In the end, for 4 days I hardly slept, and would summon all my inner strength just to take the next step without closing my eyes and falling down. Once in a while, I would pass out on a rock at 3am and wake up an hour later, clumsily hurrying back onto the road with a yawn. Half of my time was thus spent in states of semi-delirium, ranging from relentless laughter to visual distortions to losing balance and nearly getting hit by traffic.

Does all this sound negative? It was not! It was the peak of the adventure, the climax, the ultimate challenge of mind and will-power. And it was fun. Plus, I would otherwise never have figured out that sleeping on a rock was more comfortable than a bed. Nobody told me! I blame the bed manufacturers. Anyway, this greatly simplified my life and where I define my comfort zone.

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