I do seem to have spent an awful lot of time getting the photos from my last trip (Central Asia Overland, with Explore) onto Flickr… but they’re all up there now, in my imaginatively titled Central Asia Overland set.
All (all!) that’s left for me to do is:
Geotag/map the photos I took in Xinjiang, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The Yahoo! mapping is so frustratingly woeful that I can only cope with geotagging one place at a time… Transliteration and the original-versus-Soviet/Beijing place name variations don’t help.
Improve the tagging. I’m sure I’ve got lots of spelling variations myself… next time I’ll be more rigorous at logging the tags I chose, and checking past conventions, before I start.
Delete some. I’m hopeless at picking which is the best out of any particular bunch. For example, Registan square in Samarkand, the Kalon mosque in Bukhara, not to mention Khiva…..
Defrost. With London’s daytime temperatures hovering around zero our spare room-cum-office is freezing. I’ve been sitting at my computer clad in 2 pairs of socks plus ancient roof terrace gardening slippers, four top layers including fleece and vast woolly jumper, scarf and hat…. and occasionally resorting to wrapping up in the spare duvet too.
 This is the most zoomed in map for Samarkand (which you won’t find if you search for “Samarkand”) – see what I mean…
We arrived in Taskent at 7pm last night having left Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) at 4am – a long day of sitting on the world’s highest coach seats, suffering the smelliest squat toilets of the entire trip, and spending hours negotiating the border formalities for a trio of ‘Stans.
Our one day in Kazakhstan started with a long wait to get through our exit/entry stamps at the Kyrgyz/Kazakh border (c6am) and ended with an even longer time at the Kazakh/Uzbek border c4pm.
That said, there were some key differences at the Kazakh/Uzbek border – we were the entertainment of the month for the Kazakh guys, who were fun rather than fierce as the leafed through dirty laundry and laughed at the half drunk bottles of vodka and whisky we were carrying, whereas on the Uzbek side of things the guards definitely had a more intimidating style of questioning, mainly focussed on how much cash we were carrying.
Still, the main “interrogator” was an English speaking chap and, after inspecting everything in my “handbag” (for wont of a better word) and checking and signing off my entry declarations in duplicate, he had a good look through the photos on my camera, which featured the long and bumpy roads and rainbows of our 12 hour journey through Kazakhstan, together with photos of Bishkek and the beautiful Ala Archa gorge walk. Definitely no pictures of any border crossings or military locations!
My nerves resurfaced when there was still nothing in our post box this morning…. especially as the Royal Mail’s online tracking system was saying that the delivery had been made yesterday. So I went to enquire directly with the car park attendant, and after a bit of searching in various storerooms and shelves on his part, I spotted my envelope in the small items drawer… incorrectly addressed to 207 BJH – not that I cared at that point!
Four lovely visas, all present and (I hope!!) correct…… now I can start piling up things to take on the spare bed!