I quickly departure from Ferg’ona to the border of Uzbekistan with Kyrgyzstan. Perhaps the border is still open when I arrive. The evening is falling and I cycle in front of the two large iron doors of the border post of Quvasoy.
“What are you doing here?”, I hear from behind the doors. There’s a guy at probably my age in military uniform with a large automatic rifle on his chest. “Well, I am trying to get to Kyrgyzstan sir,” I answer politely. “But my friend, don‘t you know it is closed. You have to come back tomorrow at 8:00am.”
I tought this over and had this suspection. Quickly I look for a campsite 500 meters from the border. With the restricted registrations in hotels every night it’s already gone very bad. I have read on the internet that I can probably bribe the officer to avoid a fine. I’ll see that tomorrow.
“Give me your passport,” said the same guy 12.5 hours later, the next morning at 8:30h. His colleague walks away with my passport and comes back a little later with a very special announcement. “You cannot pass here, you are a tourist. You go to Andijon.” That is something he might could have tell me yesterday. Andijon is a town 150 kilometers to the east of the country. Just as if nothing is going on both come curiously looking at my bicycle. “Do you like Uzbekistan?”, asks one of them. At that time I just don’t know what to say. It’s a tricky question for me.
I’m looking for an answer. All ideas are flying through my head but I have to weigh them carefully. Because I think the president is a bit selfish because he turn off the road every day when he goes to and back from his office. That registration requirement is something very annoying and unattractive to tourists. Along every 50 kilometers I had to show my passport，that also is very annoying. Illegal taxi drivers who screw up tourists, not one of the many police officers does something against it. The president who will not admit inflation, and no higher bills will be printed. Everyone here is walking around with a stack of bills on the street. That I should not cross the border here is a bit strange. I have to exactly carry the same amount of money in and out of the country, I do not understand the logic of that. That some police officers seems not high educated and appear to be corrupt. When I explain all this, I probably will be the same day ended up somewhere at a police station.
“You know, I like Uzbekistan, it’s a bit different then Holland and the people are very polite here.” I jump on my seat, shout good bye to the guys and start the 150 kilometer sprint to the border post of Andijon. At 7:00pm the border closes. I have decided that today I want to leave this country.
“Go, go, go!!” encourage some smiling Uzbeks as I come at 6:55pm cycling in a hurry to the border. Fortunatly I can cross the border and be probably the last person today. What a luck. When formalities are handled in a hasty way, I am totally happy. They want to go home and I am the last person crossing. They even don’t mentioning the registration cards at all and within 10 minutes I’m standing outside again.
“What is your name?” Ask the customs official at the Kyrgyzstan border post. “Hendrik, but you may call me Henk,” I reply. “Hendrik, welcome to Kyrgyzstan.” Without any further questions or irritating checks and forms I cycle a little later in the evening into the country Kyrgyzstan.
Finally, a bit more freedom again.