Friday, August 04, 2006

The India Journals (Part 2)

4 October - Tashkent, Uzbekistan - 21:30

Adventure we wanted, adventure we got. We are now sitting in the transit lounge of the Tashkent airport waiting for our visas. Before we left the Netherlands, we had contacted the Uzbekistan embassy in Brussels and they assured us that with a letter of invitation we would have no problem getting the visa upon arrival. We got to the airport here, which looks like (and is actually) a former military base. It is cold, concrete, tiles missing from the walls, the bathrooms smell like old urine and you can't really escape the smell at all and the wallpaper is peeling. We are now in the restaurant of the lounge drinking a beer. It is not the sort of place where I would like to eat, but I am jumping ahead of myself. we got into the passport control area and stood in the line to enter. All of a sudden, a tourguide leading a group of Belgians brings 20+ people to the frint of the line. They obviously thought they could get through without showing each individual passport. They were wrong and held up the line for what seemed like an eternity. I saw a little booth for the consulate and while Pierre waited in line, I went to ask where we needed to be. Of course, we were standing in the wrong line and so we go to the end of the consulate line. After much discussion, we are asked to fill in forma and then told they had a problem with our visas as someone from the airline company was supposed to apply for our visa on our behalf, which, when we inquired in Amsterdam they assured us they had. So, ou passports were confiscated and we were led to the transfer room.

I feel very scared not having my passport, what if it gets lost? There are 2 guys that have been in this lounge for 5 months. I don't rally want to become roommated. Pierre just checke the airline timetable and there is a flight leaving for Delhi tomorrow morning abour 06:30 or so. We may go a day early and not see anyting at all of Uzbekistan. Pierre can't really complain since this is all his idea. I just hope this isn't a premonition of things to come and I can only imagine what we will find in Delhi. We have now been in this lounge a little longer than 1 1/2 hours. I hope it doesn't become 5 months. I also thought I had made a major mistake at passport control... It was so unlike any airport I had ever seen so I took a picture. One of the officials yelled out and motioned it was not allowed. (Perhaps that is why we didn't get the visa???) I had visions of my camera being confiscated or the film ripped out but neither one happened. I just hope we are not here too much longer...

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