HASSLING POLICE IN
TASHKENT: police in Tashkent are a real hassle, especially in the metro were they'll not
miss a chance to stop you. Most of them are just doing their job, but some are definitely
more interested in your money then in the safety of their country. The typical trick is to
get your passport and then asking money to give it back. In this case the best is to say
it's in the guesthouse or, as I always did, in the kyrgyz embassy for the visa; obviously
carry a photocopy of it with you. If they ask you about your money saying they want check
if you have fake dollars, avoid showing them, and if you really have to, count in front of
them before giving. Remember that the passport is more important than your money. Anyway
the most important thing is to avoid them to take you inside a room. Insist to stay in
public places and if it's necessary make a scene. LP (2004 Central Asia) provides a useful
list of tricks antipolice hassling in Uzbekistan. Once I met an italian traveller who was
heading to Tashkent with a sign where was written in russian: "IT'S THE THIRD TIME
THE POLICE STOP ME IN TEN MINUTES, IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS LET'S GO TO THE EMBASSY",
and it showed up every time the police stopped him, funny isn't? In Uzbekistan if you'll
have an enemy for sure it'll be the police and not the people!!!
MONEY TRICK: Pay attention to the money trick it happened
to me (read story)
COMMON HASSLERS: some people stopped me, saying that they
belonged to the police showing some strange card. They wanted to see my passport. NEVER
SHOW IT, USE ALWAYS A FOTOCOPY saying the real document is at the embassy for the visa.
KYRGYZ VISA: in Tashkent you are supposed to wait four
days for a 30 days Kyrgyz visa paying 40$, But there's the quick alternative: 80$ five
minutes. If you really have no money to waste, you can apply for the visa without leaving
the passport then come back and get it after having travelled in the country. Watch out
that the embassy is open only in the morning, and not on Saturday.
ENTERING IN AFGHANISTAN: while I was there (summer 04)
there was absolutely no way to enter in Afghanistan through the only existing border point
in Uzbeskitan: Termiz.
STUDY SOME RUSSIAN: travelling in Central Asia is
definitely worthwhile regardless your knowledge of Russian, but surely your entertainment
will be proportional to it, hence I suggest a minimum of preparation.
CASH: dollars are more accepted than euros, moreover you
can use dollars as cash almost everywhere.