Day 459: Doctorin’ The Docket


I may have mentioned this before, but for some stupid reason you have to register three days after you arrive in Uzbekistan.  The problem is you cannot register that you’re staying with a private citizen without a ton of hassle and paperwork.  As a consequence, CouchSurfing is technically illegal.

What most people do is check into a hotel for the night and then doctor the docket that they’re given (as I did last week) so the dates imply you stayed in the hotel longer than you really did.  However our sweet French couple, Younne and Cloe neglected to register within their three day period of grace.  You see the Uzbek government is a little stuck in it’s ways and thinks that every westerner who would like to visit their country is James Bond come to blow up their secret volcano fortresses.

It’s when you hear about the government bugging hotel rooms that your eyes involuntarily roll upwards. Seriously, Uzbekistan, get a grip – we really couldn’t give a monkey’s what you’re doing – you’re a landlocked country in the middle of nowhere that 9 people out of 10 have never heard of. MI6 AND THE CIA DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU, THEY NEVER HAVE AND THEY NEVER WILL. There, I’ve said it. I love Uzbekistan but in the silliness awards, the government is rubbing shoulders with the brainless mooks that run Africa.

Anyway, Younne and Cloe tottered off to the railway station to ‘check in’ at the hotel there. They asked for a room for the night and explained they had lost their dockets for the past couple of days – damnit, it was only a couple of days, eh? Anyway, the bee-atch at the hotel smiled, took their passports as if to copy down the numbers, explained that she’d be right back and then promptly returned with a police officer in tow.

What a cow. What an utter cow.

Rafa, our CouchSurfing host had to head down to the police station and help them out. Luckily (and happily) Uzbekistan is NOT Africa, and therefore throwing tourists in jail is not a national sport, so after a few hours they were set free; although not before they were told that they faced DEPORTATION for their misdemeanour.

Crikey – at first we thought they’d be flown back home (I shudder to think what I’d have to do if that happens to me!) but then the police said they would give them until Wednesday to get a visa for Kyrgyzstan and then they’ll be escorted to the border.  The cop who booked them said that he had personally deported about fifty tourists since the beginning of the year.

Oh look – somebody from a rich country coming to take money from a rich country and spend it in our poor country… let’s deport them! Smart move, guys… you must be really good at chess.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – any conspiracy theory that hinges on politicians of the world having a higher IQ than an eggplant is doomed from the start – if you put all the politicians and bureaucrats in the world in a room, you wouldn’t have enough of a spark to ignite a stick of dynamite from the Black Rock.

Not wanting another run-in with the fuzz, I set out with Rafa to check into a hotel myself – not the railway one (for obvious reasons) but the one near the circus (a monstrous eyesore that looks like a big concrete hamburger). For $7 my stay here was safe. With any luck, I’ll have my Turkmenistan visa tomorrow and then I’ll be outta here.

I really, really like the Uzbek people.  If the government here would just chill out a little, many more people would like them too.

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Bob Taylor

    They sound as paranoid as Hugo Chavez !!
    Keep going You are doing a Great job !!

  2. RMS Pinnafore


    Following your adventures has helped me pass the seemingly endless days of my final months of service here in your favorite country, Cape Verde. It’s also reminded me of the glorious vastness of the world, which is an unknown concept here.

    I hope you can escape from Kuwait soon so you can get on to the last 45, which, given many of their locations in the South Pacific (Nordhoff and Hall, anyone?), I am voyeuristically looking forward to hearing about.

    Safe travels and best of luck.

    -(Still) Cocked in Cape Verde aka Rob

  3. MechwarriorAce

    I think there mode of thought goes something like the rich westerners better spend money in our hotel in our country they have never heard of. Never mind this practice my piss them off and of course they have heard of us and our wonderful…concrete hamburger. Mmmmmmm concrete hamburger… crumbly. I love reading your blog I have been following it for a few day now. Good luck.

  4. MechwarriorAce

    About the Vogons did you remember your towel? It might help in the future.

    1. Graham

      Funnily enough, I never carry a towel. I think the late great Douglas Adams was dead wrong about that. When you’re travelling fast and furious, it always ends up a big damp smelly mess in your bag, so I opt to abuse other people’s (or my jumper in emergencies!). Evil, I know, but in my book you should always know where other people’s towels are!!

Leave a Reply