We’re Not in Nukus Anymore

After our day in the museum in Nukus we went looking for a restaurant. There aren’t a lot of options in Nukus. The first night, we had dinner in a place where the food wasn’t great and the service was really awful. The waiter, who thought he spoke English, had the most odd smile pasted on his face. We went looking for an alternative. We found one, the Sheraton in our travel guides. Some posts indicated that it never existed or was closed, but it did exist and was open. There was no sign on the door that we could read or recognize as a restaurant, but there it was. We met a couple of Israeli men traveling by motorcycle along the Silk Road across Central Asia. Ugh – that would be a trip! The food wasn’t great and then back to the hotel with a gaggle of male university students trailing us and practicing their English.

I was up early Tuesday morning to walk the streets of Nukus before we made our 10:30a flight back to Tashkent. We reconnected with Andrei from Page Travel and went to their office. There we meet Olga, who had made the arrangements for us at the Nebesa Hotel in Chimgan, north of Tashkent in the western Tian Shan mountains.

Olga’s father, Dimitri, started Page Travel in partnership with a German firm in 1992-93 after the establishment of an independent Uzbekistan. His earlier joint-venture was with a US based computer firm. It collapsed along with the USSR, when the Russian Central Bank closed, along with Dimitri’s firm account, and he lost everything. Clearly, Dimitri and family had a rough couple of years, but now seem to have a thriving travel business focused mainly on ‘adventure’ travel. He takes groups tp heli-ski and on trekking trips in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and even Nepal. Not exactly our wheelhouse, but he’s a clever guy who speaks pretty good English, and will be our guide in the mountains surrounding Chimgan.

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