Me-go: Around-the-World

I Am Alive


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I’ve spoiled you.

When I was in China and updating every few days I feared that you would get used to it! After a week sleeping in yurts on Song Kul Lake and hiking around Karakol I’ve come back to an inbox full of worried notes from friends, family and strangers. You guys had my sister worked up enough to start inquiring around to see if anyone had heard from me! You see, it has taken me years to train my family not to worry about me and now you’ve worked them up into a frenzy.

I am fine, in Bishkek dealing with a lot of red tape at the moment. My Uzbek LOI (letter of invitation) hadn’t come through the first time I was in Bishkek so I left for the lakes to give it some time to process. I arrived yesterday from Kochkor (where I bought a bright felt carpet) and my LOI was waiting in my inbox. I’ve had people who speak Russian call the Uzbek Embassy twice now to make an apointment for me to apply for my visa but each time I am told to call back the next day. Today it’s closed and I was told that it’s also closed tomorrow for some reason. The Kyrgyz Idependence Day is on the 31st and Uzbek Independence Day is on the 1st so I’m sure to run into some problems if it’s clsoed tomorrow.

The application process for Uzbekistan is really a pain. First you need to obtain a LOI from a travel agency ($37). The you need to call and be put on the waiting list to get into the embassy. When you go to apply you need a Russian interpreter with you to even hand in the application. I haven’t found an interpreter yet but I hope to get someone to help me, because the owner of my guesthouse has turned me down. I have met more than one American who has been denied an Uzbek visa, but no Americans who have even tried applying in Bishkek so I’m not sure what to expect. I also have no idea how much the visa will cost because costs are different for each nationality. I am expecting $100, a Swiss girl I know paid $72 last week.

Once I obtain an Uzbek visa I can pay for and confirm the flights I reserved from Bishkek to Tashkent and then from Tashkent to Nukkus. I don’t want to pay before I get a visa, but I have to pay before the 31st to keep my booking, so you see there’s a tight window this week with all of these holidays. After that I can run over to the Tajik embasy on the South side of town and apply for a visa there. I have been told that they ask for a LOI but if you don’t have one you can bluff your way through it. That visa was $50 for 4 working days processing or $100 for same day for an English guy in my guesthouse—I’m not sure what it will be for an American.

Everything hinges on geting the Uzbek visa tomorrow (or at last resort on Wednesday) for things to fall into place. I’m already spending a great deal of time in Bishkek for no real reason other than to deal with visas. However, Bishkek is the cheapest place in the region for me to stop for a while and my guesthosue is really nice and peaceful. I’ve found a small Chinese supermarket around the corner that sells cold Diet Coke (Diet Coke is hard to find when traveling) and every morning I walk out to Soviet Street to get a coke and a fresh bread roll for breakfast. I’ll keep you updated on the visa situation this week. My Kyrgyz visa lasts until the 7th, but my flight is planned to leave the 6th. I’ll be in Bishkek for a while so no reason to be worrying about me for the next week.

7 responses to “I Am Alive”

  1. Jay Avatar

    I’m so glad to hear from you again. I knew access to internet would be difficult and you were busy, you know, doing the things you went there to do. But, I couldn’t help getting a little worried.

    Anyway, I’m really enjoying reading about your trip. Hope things go smoothly this week.

  2. lucas Avatar

    guesthouse owner: are you megan?
    megan: yeah..
    guesthouse owner: there’s a message for you. somebody named lucas says he’s a little worried and has been trying to find out what’s going on.
    megan: haha tell him i’m alive
    guesthouse owner: not good enough. he wants you to update the blog.

    Good luck with those visas megan.

  3. Jim Avatar

    Oh good!

    Enough visa talk though (good luck with that, by the way)… how was the hiking?

  4. Nina Avatar

    I love how you mention the important things in life like a cold diet coke early in the morning. See, that’s why we’re friends.

  5. Megan Avatar

    Actually, there was access in Osh and I think in Karakol but it was out sometimes. I was being somewhat lazy and didn’t have anything written in advance to post so I was avoiding it.

    I actually did have a visitor to my guesthouse while I was off at Issuk Kul Lake… When I first arrived in Bishkek my minibus driver made another passenger take me to the guesthouse. I tried to get rid of him along the way but he followed along. So this man wants to see me and my guesthouse owner was saying that he was really excited and inssistant that she make sure I get his phone number. She’s still bugging me to call him even though he doesn’t speak English and he’s apparantly a freaky stalker. I don’t know why I attract Turkish men!

    Hiking? Um, yeah, I went for a 6 hour day hike at Altan Arashan (from Karakol) and it was sweaty and then it rained. It’s pretty amazing here, I hear, from all those annoying “outdoorsy” people that are traveling here. I’m not up for carrying a tent and stove on my back… a lot fo the hikes have no food or shelter on the way.

    Of course! It freaks out the Europeans though.

  6. stu thompson Avatar
    stu thompson

    I assumed you were being a selfish RTW blogger…thoughts confirmed! Glad to have the posts back. 😀

  7. Megan Avatar

    Well, selfish… hmm. I still think I’ve been much better than Phase 1. Right now I have a flash drive with all of my Kyrgyz photos ready to upload as soon as I have a good internet connection and a few hours.