Okay, okay, I know this rather long blog is called Danny in Asia, but as of today I´m no longer in Asia proper and have jumped over Russia and landed in Poland, my first time in Europe. All the flights from Uzbekistan seem to correspond to Moscow time and leave between 2 and 7am. Mine is at five, the worst possible time for a flight so I drink beers in the park adjacent to Tashkent airport with a homeless guy until midnight. As you come into the airport area there is a huge billboard sign that simply says:
I don´t know if this is just a bad translation from Uzbek or a lighthearted joke aimed at Ukbekistan Airway and Aeroflot´s horrible safety record. Regardless it´s not what I wanted to see.
After I´m sufficiently loaded I attempt two hours of sleep under the flourescent lights in the waiting lobby as the security guards play backgammon. The 2:30am check-in comes fast.
I declare on my customs form all my money, every cent, but women inspector doesn´t believe me.
“You have 2000sum ($3.60), and ten dollars?” she asks incredulously.
“Yeah, and the $400 in traveler´s checks.” She must know like I do how impossible it is to cash these in Uzbekistan and decides to prod me further.
“Show me your money.” This is their trick. They search your bags and find out that this rich westerner is lying and really has extra hundreds hidden in socks. The offence comes with a penalty of course, usually whatever the sum over the amount stated on your declaration.
After I show her my money and she makes a brief pass through my small carry on she asks again with a look of disbelief. “Are you sure this is all your money?”
“Have nice flight.”