My name is Elin - A pro cycling lover's reflections

What is more beautiful than being alive?

Category: Life

Hi. I have paid for the hostel and the room is empty. I have even been to the bazaar and bought some almonds and raisins. But no candy - yet. I think I will go to Mir Supermarket and see what they have, 'cause I need something which I can chew on. And then at 16 o'clock I will go to a meeting with Couchsurfing's group about Uzbekistan. They believe I live in Tashkent because I have been in Uzbekistan for so long :) But no, I will go home today but will of course come back. I really enjoy being here. Surely it starts getting warmer and my skin have changed colour. Take a look at my stomach and then at my arms and you will something scary.

But before I go to the Mir Supermarket (Turkuaz is still closed) I decided to sit down here for a moment and think. I have some money to spend, but I don't think I will buy any souvenirs. Perhaps some pialas at TsUM, as they take VISA, but I am not sure. I will see if I can find someone that I like.

Hm, that reminds me that I have to buy tickets to go back to Nykoping from Tomelilla. I will see how much it will cost to take the train, as I am not completely willing to take the bus (it's slow). So well, I will look now. See you soon.

Ps. Sergey Lagutin finished 4th at yesterday's stage at Tour of Belgium. Greg Van Avermaet won the stage. Nice done!

Goodbye Tashkent

Category: Life

Hi, so here I am again and it is one of my last days before leaving Uzbekistan. I really like this place, especially Tashkent which is more than fantastic. Like today I actually found the velo-track. It surely was in the middle of nowhere but it was nice to see. I am sad we don't have anything similiar in Sweden. How difficult can it be to build something outdoors.

And yes, I have to tell you. Yesterday when I was out walking I saw a cyclist in the same area, and he wore Landbouwkrediet-Colnago's clothes from 2005. 2005 was Sergey Lagutin's last year in that squad. It's so fun to see all cyclists here who wear his former clothes. And I can't tell how they have got them, but I think Lagutin has donated them to the Uzbek cyclists.
I remember a blog I read a couple of years ago when he said "I had been racing in Kazakhstan, and all over Uzbekistan. But then I came to Europe and saw it all right away. The athletes were a lot stronger, the races on a harder level, and the mountains were harder. It seemed to me unbearably difficult. All the clubs and Italian teams had nice uniforms, everybody was dressed alike, they had similar bikes. We were the Uzbek all-star team and we were poor. We had different bikes, barely had any bike clothing."
So as I walk around and see all cyclists here in nice jerseys and shorts then I feel very happy. Surely they are no dressed alike, but at least they seem very happy and they seem to enjoy what they are doing. To me it feels very good and I know that Sergey Lagutin is very good for these guys.

Yesterday we went to a Syrian restaurant. It was a British guy, the woman from France with whom I have roomed for the last couple of days and I. As we are all supposed to leave Uzbekistan soon we did not have much money but we ordered a couple of small dishes, water and they drank beer. Very nice.
  Even though all the youths smoke waterpipe. I heard earlier in the week that some people thought it was just teenagers and drugs at the restaurant and in some way I can agree. It was no one over 20 years old, except for us and the young man beside us. It seems people goes there to smoke and not to eat the food, so I understand why it was so expensive with water pipe (6300 sum). 
  In the end we paid nothing to get the water pipe as the young man beside us paid, but hey, I felt so sick afterwards. And the sickness didn't leave me before 12 o'clock today. It must have been very bad tobacco. The others complained too, so it wasn't just because I don't smoke normally. I would never do it.

But okay, today is a very hot day (again). So I have mostly been relaxing in my room. I will later go to a store and buy some water. 

Tomorrow evening I will go to the airport and my taxi is free. Two of my friends here in Tashkent has promised to pick me up with all my bags. I have not bought much souvenirs, barely any, as I rather do it when I have more place in my bags. I would have liked to buy a couple of pialas (cups) but I don't have enough space for them. So I'll buy them next time instead. Hopefully it won't be too long before I can return.


Yesterday I cat thought I was his mother

Category: Life

I am back. I have found this cheap internet café close to the hotel, so I think I can afford to sit down sometimes. And today has been quite calm, after all, so I can write something.

Air Baltic is a cheap airline, but they are not easy to handle with. One of my class mates lost a bag with them and it took them so long to take it to her. But my problem is a bit different. They have changed my dates so many times now and all by a sudden they tell me that I have to send my ticket back to Sweden for changing the dates. But come on, I am in Uzbekistan and I wouldn't do such thing if I wished to have my tickets back. So I thought I would go and talk to them in Tashkent. I searched for their adress at the internet and thought that well, this can't be so difficult, can it? So I looked at the map and found the adress behind the airport. Though I later found out that was not the right street. I had not gone their thankfully. But instead I went to an Aviakassa, where you can buy airplane tickets and they made a phone call to Air Baltic's office in Tashkent and they had relocated. Thankfully to the inner city. So I walked there and they changed the dates. I would not recommend you to do the same, unless you have to. It felt like I was just running around in the beginning of the day. A lot of stress for that little ticket. But now my only worry is that I probably have to call the company to tell them that I will travel with them.

Otherwise the day has been very relaxed, and I have just done nothing very serious. I walked around, sat in a parc. Back at the hostel I sat down, drank Sprite, ate cookies and wrote my diary. And now I am here. It's fun to meet all the travellers and it is interesting to see how everybody is telling me that they will soon go back to their home countries. When I arrived everybody would stay here a long time, but it seems the tourist season is about to end. I think of all people staying at the hotel right now, maybe 15 people, only one is starting his trip. The rest of us is about to go home. And I must say it feels sad, but quite good. It is so hot here, so I would prefer a couple of cloudy days as I come back to Sweden. Plus I will like eating Swedish food again. Or at least to be able to make my own food. But yeah, I like this city even though the distances are unbearable sometimes. It would be nice to have a bike, or maybe I should just take the metro more often. Especially when I am tired.

I think I have said so before, but Tashkent is the only city where I can actually think of spending the rest of my life. But I will probablt choose another city in the end. Too scary to live in Uzbekistan, huh?

See you soon.