We arrived at the airport and expected a long wait to get through immigration, but were pleasantly surprised by the fairly quick procedure. Catching a taxi was another story though. We had been told to pay only 12,000 soum…which is only a couple of dollars. But the drivers were all asking for 25,000! Finally one agreed and then started wanting us to change money…he had a huge wad in his cab! We had no idea at this stage, but were told not to change money with the taxi drivers! Of course everything was fine until we arrived at the guesthouse and he asked for 20,000! The manager was no help and just said you discuss it with the driver! We settled on 15,000… not worth quibbling over 50 cents…but why tell us one thing and then do another?
Yesterday we got lost. We had been to Western Union to send money to a guide ( which took almost an hour partly because the young people working behind the desk wanted to look at our photos, especially of Africa) and then we headed to the Metro. We had read that the subway stations were very elaborately decorated and they were. But no photos! We managed to buy tickets, catch the right train, change and leave at the correct station. That’s when our problems started. We were looking for a huge park and it didn’t seem to matter which way we went we couldn’t find it! Not to be beaten, we set off again today and after wandering in the wrong direction we finally found it…not that exciting really. Our next goal was the Museum of Applied Arts and once again the map in the LP guide was a bit old, and I hadn’t downloaded a good one of Tashkent, but we persevered and discovered it tucked away in a backstreet. So tomorrow we start our tour with Beck, hopefully we will see a bit more of this modern/ancient city from the air conditioned comfort of his car.