Special, no pics update
Bandwidth has defeated me keeping the blog up to date. So I need to keep this shortish.
I will fill in the gaps once I can connect properly.
Pat and I made it up to Tashkent, where we stayed for two nights. I was feeling a tad ropey so it was nice to stop at a comfy hotel with pool and poolside bar. We went to see the metro system, modelled on that of Moscow - very impressive. The car had an episode of moderate overheating do I took it to a Hyundau dealer. They tested it and declared the radiator 25% dead but with a clean up of all the sand and mud, it should be OK. Dealership boss, spotted a commercial opportunity and the Marketing Manager came out with camera to take shots of me shaking hands with the Service manager and all staff in a line waving goodbye this intrepid traveller en route London. Quite touching! I must look at their facebook page, when I'm allowed.
Pat left for his flight back, and to retrieve his lost case. Big thanks to Pat for his company. He arrived laden with techie gadgets to help communication (he would have brought more but Aeroflot put paid to that). He was always good-humoured despite things being a little harsher at times than he might have thought. I hope he'll look back on it as, well, an experience.
I then travelled to Bukhara for 2 days. This was a revisit on the way down to the Turkmenistan border. There were no big problems at Customs, well nothing than the standard gift could handle, despite my concerns that our paperwork was dodgy. The Officer laughed and muttered something that probably meant 'Country hicks' referring to her Kyrgyzstan colleagues. Lots of questions, boss checking etc and I was in, or out actually.
I visited Merv, an ancient site and I have to say, it convinced me that conservation is miles better then restoration. Then a night in oh-so-white Ashgabat and through the desert to Turkmenbashy, my port of departure. I've been stuck here for an interminable 3 days waiting for a ferry that seems to be arriving and then not. Still, I now have a ticket which is something. However, my visa runs out tonight so I'll probably be spending 12 hours or so in an immigration hall 'airside' as it were. I'm hoping to depart tomorrow afternoon. I think I'll be glad to be the other side of the Caspian because I fear I'm going everso slightly nuts here!