2019-06-10 Day 256 Mon


John was not feeling 100%. Spoke and text to Chris who was at Mt Moyhu trying to find his birth certificate. I just can't remember where I moved it too….
 John drove us to Khiva which is one of the towns on the silk route. We paid the AU$30 to enter the old town and wondered around. John lay down for a while. The old buildings and city wall had been renovated in the 70’s by the soviets.


Wonderful how all the rooms of the guest houses open on an inner courtyard probably where the camels and horses were kept - where the owner could see them. And locked in from the street.


 The engraving on an old door.
 The minaret towered over the other buildings and helped us to pin point our location
 Arabic script sewn on a sleeve


 Climbing the stairs in the minaret was interesting. Very high steps and well worn. A great view over the city and EC.





We were both very tired and John has still not eaten. We stopped again at the markets where I bought two more melons.

I drove us to the same river as two nights ago but this time camped on the SW of the bridge. We lay down for a rest and John slept and dozed. I managed to get the photos up to date and the blog first time in a while. Sadly I could not upload them to the internet.
John slept through.


 73km

2019-06-09 Day 255 Sun


Spent the morning doing photos and blog. Finally finished May - catching up slowly.
Watched a guy wade across the first Chanel with his two cattle then he swam them across the next one to leave them on an island. 
 
We moved on about 1400hrs, realizing it was too late to vist Khiva so stopped in Urgench at a big market place and bought some more fruit and had a late lunch.

 I assume they cut the grass and cart it home to their animals.
 Boys swimming in a canal in the middle of a small town.
 Modern transport!





 
Many 3 wheeled tractors here Smaller turning circle??

We then needed a camp. Drove south to a lake which straddles the Turkmenistan border. We followed a ute out a bumpy road and it turned off onto a track heading to water. We followed and realized we were probably on private property. While John turned around I went to talk to the guys in the ute but couldn’t make myself understood. As I turned away another guy was walking toward the ute. As I climbed in with John the third guy hailed us. We stopped and chatted. He told us where to go about 5 times then bade us follow him. He took us around to another road that cut across the lake. We stopped by a small house and he unlocked and showed us around. The guy has 80 hectare of the lake to farm fish. He told us to camp and he’d be back soon.

He arrived back and took John for a drive down the road to their fish boat. We were invited to dinner and they’d be back in an hour. 
The guys our catching our dinner!
By 2130hrs we had given up on dinner and had our first glass of wine since arriving in Iran. Then around 2200hrs they all arrived back with a young guy, Steve, who spoke good English. An interesting night. We both had some vodka but John was pushed into a bit more than me. The fish was very good, a white strong flesh but with lots of Y shaped bones.
Although this is Steve’s hometown and our host and Steve’s father are friends, they now live in Tashkent, Maybe we’ll catch up there.
Crawled into bed just after midnight. So much for early nights.

 62km

2019-06-08 Day 254 Sat


Feeling a little better after a good nights sleep. Our morning was interrupted by the ranger returning to say he wanted to lock the gates. So we packed and left to find the park office. Where the office is situated, and with no signposts, we would have missed it yesterday even if we had come in the front gate!.
 
A lady, Elana, was there from Urgench. She works with an German NGO to help with the training and management of protected areas. She had very good English so we learnt quiet a bit of the history and the struggles they are having with different government departments and others that feel they have a vested interest.
We also found out that if one of the other guys had found us first it would have been a US$400 fine. Ouch! Even though there are no signs indicating no entry.
We made use of the dried up fountains surrounds to stand on to replace the sticky tape under the roof seal rubber. It had let go in a couple of places.

We moved on and found diesel at a gas station listed on caravanistan. Took on board 50 litres. Mostly full. The guy ensured us that there was diesel available up at the end of the desert track so we may go that way in a few days.
I took this for Nevil and wondered when he last used a hay baler of this vintage.






At Beruniy we stopped and did a small fruit shop and had a good lunch in  a small restaurant.
 
I have been amazed that in these last few countries there are shops full of wedding gowns even in towns that seldom are big enough for other shops. Today I finally got to see one being worn! The bride had to walkover dirt to get to the grand registration building.

We drove towards Urgench and camped on the Amuadaryo River NE of the bridge. We did not have internet so finally shifted 100 up onto the break water. Good internet.

Some how it was after 11pm when we showered and climbed into bed.
 
69km
 

2019-06-07 Day 253 Fri

 No internet but caught up on my blog just photos to sort and upload now.
Our thoughts of travel up to the now very small South Arel sea is thwarted. Not enough diesel in the tank. The Arel sea used to have cargo ships on it and they now lay on the sand. Cotton farming and the use of chemicals during soviet era has purportedly drained the sea and damaged a very large area. The north Aral sea is in Kazakhstan and I think in the same condition.
We settled to drive the road we are on in a big loop.
Driving back through the houses they had outside cooking "ovens" under the shade of the trees.
The road seemed to be better than yesterday. Lots of water about in channels, lots of green, and a lot of square paddocks full of water. Finally we discovered that they flood the paddock then after a period they walk though it spreading seed. I think a grain maybe wheat, as they consume a lot of bread.
 

 There are quite a number of birds about, but they don't usually sit and wait for us to take a photo!




Back into town to find diesel. I looked up Caravanistan website and found a few GPS locations of black market diesel. We finally found a guy to sell us some, so bought 50 liters out of 10lt, water bottles and used our new funnel-filter for the first time. He also allowed us to fill with water. One litre 7000som about AU$1.40
By now the banks had reopened from their hours lunch break, so went and got out 2 million som (US$250). Back for another 50litres diesel.
Now south.
It takes only four Uzbekistan men  to push a train carriage!

John had a water camp picked out, but the first track we tried stopped at a canal. We then found a track going in right direction and followed that across to the next track and a bridge. There were some signs in Russian and some fire fighting gear.
 
We continued on the track noticing little groups of ¾ buried bottles of water, we assume for fire control.
 
Arrived at a little camp spot and saw about 20 deer race out of the water onto an island then continued back towards the chosen spot. After a couple of km’s finally got there. Although the track was within 200m of the river there was no tracks to the water.
Set up camp with some nibbles and books sat down in the shade to then be interrupted by a vehicle and a ranger. In a biosphere park and no camping here. Sounds like we shouldn’t even be here. The guy had some English and was really very friendly and nice about it. He took us back to the original spot and said we could have one night. All good.


Read for a while until a few mozzies, the dark and tiredness drove us inside for a shower and bed.

255km 

2019-06-06 Day 252 Thu


No internet but caught up on my blog just photos to sort and upload now. 
John gave the solar panels a clean.


We headed a little closer to town and perched near the river and use internet to catch up with stuff. Still no internet so on closer Still none. Something must be wrong so into town and to the Beeline shop which was closed yesterday. We had finally worked out that yesterday was a public holiday. The finish of Ramadan.
Beeline sorted our SIM in short order. We had not bought a SIM for tourists. Yes $$ signs went through our heads. But easily solved just need to have a balance on sim to pay 500som a day AU10c. Back with comms!
Into the markets for Vanish for the toilet and WD40. We wondered around a lot and found Vanish mainly liquid but that’ll do. Powder was available but in very small packets. WD40 was not available here.
Back into the main building for some frozen chook, and some bread.
We drove NW to lake Dawitko’l Suwsaqlag’ishi, stopping at a lot of gas stations for diesel. Not available. We found one but you need special paperwork to buy it, which we of course, do not posses.
The road degraded as we went and was very slow, every 100m with potholes which people drive around….
The sandy track wound through a small group of houses then out the other side on a less used track. We were surprised that the motor bikes road only on the wheel tracks and did not cut corners.

We arrived at the waters edge on a very pretty lake with 3 small fishing skiffs.
Not long after setting up we had a visitor, on Yes a motor bike and sidecar, explained much.
He was a fishing inspector and said we could not stay. Then we could stay one night. He didn’t have much English but stayed and chatted for 1 hour. A couple of guys came on another sidecar and a push bike they paddled out in the skiffs to bait a set line for the night. They would be back in the morning to retrieve their catch.


 











The inspector spoke about letting hatchlings go but we were not sure if he’d already done it or was about to

.
A quiet night.

120km