Generally we don’t write too much about the day to day frustrations of our little project. In part because they would be as boring to write about as they would be to read of, and usually there are plenty of other interesting occurences to fill our online missives.
But our current frustration is the most serious we’ve encountered to-date, an unfortunate mixture of beaucracy and mechanical two things that keep us awake at night, and it deserves to be told.
As regualr readers will know Si’s frame was crumpled by an idiot driving a Daewoo Matiz. If you’re not a regular, his account can be read here. As soon as they heard about his accident, our sponsors sprang into action: Mike at the Cycle Inn and Damian from Freewheel got on to the lads in Austria to get a 2010 KTM Race Action frame winging its way to Tashkent as soon as the paint dried. We’d like to say a big thanks to Mike and Damian, who’ve been amazingly supportive and helpful- seeing that we keep rolling towards home.
While Si keeps his excitment at getting his hands on an extremely tasty new frame, and I try to keep my breaking of the tenth commandment under wraps -thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s bike, there is a pressing worry. Both of our Visa’s run out roughly around the time that the frame is due to arrive in Tashkent-700km from the Turkmen border, and there is little or no chance of extensions.
This wouldn’t be such a problem if we were in Europe or somewhere with predictable and dependable services. But we’re not, we’re in central Asia- a place where it took me 5 hours to take a train to visit a town 120km south of Tashkent. Everything here, except visas, runs on Central Asian time.
The worst case scenarios are all possible, if not vaguely probable, and we really don’t have much time to wiggle with. So, we’re on tenterhooks here in Uzbekistan- hoping that we’ll both get our visas for Turkmenistan, that the frame will arrive in time, in the right place, that we’ll make it to the border before our uzbek visas run out, that we’ll make it across Turkmenistan on the 5day transit visa they’ll hopefully allow us.
Then, if the frame doesn’t arrive on time we hope that it will arrive early enough to allow me to get an over night train back to Tashkent pick it up, get a train back to the border and cycle across before my visa runs out. All the time praying that Si’s bodged frame(crafted by a blacksmith) holds on for the 700km to Iran.
I never thought I’d say this, but I’m looking forward to getting to Iran, where we can relax a bit.
Right now, there are so many variables that can scupper our circumnavigation attempt.