Cheap but Grand: Tashkent

As told in my earlier, blog, it was amazing to undertake our first pleasure trip to Bangkok. We again started to plan our 2nd international trip. In between we had traveled to Ladakh. Again, money was something to consider for the international trip. This is a visa agent asked me to try Tashkent in Uzbekistan. I initially though it would be expensive. However, I coordinated with a travel agent and got a price of around INR 40,000 ( approx. AU$ 865 ) per person. This time it was 8 of us traveling.  It was cheap holiday package with accommodation, all meals , airfare and Visa. We booked a flight after 2 months. It was a 4 night/5 days package on a premium accommodation. The flight was on Sunday 1100 hrs. and would take us to Tashkent at 1340 hrs.( Local time). India is just 30 minutes ahead of Tashkent.

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Just like in Thailand, we had a company tour leader waiting for us at the Delhi airport. We all assembled at the lounge. It was a group of approx. 40 people. There were also 4 couples traveling in the group. The Uzbekistan airways flight was nice, however, I felt the Thai airways was much superior in terms of service and feel. We reached Tashkent. The immigration clearance took some time. It was almost lunch time so the tour leader stopped at the coach at an India restaurant. We were welcomed with non-alcoholic drinks called sherbet. Shortly afterwards, a  buffet with different snacks, sandwiches and hot beverages were laid down. We had a couple of chicken grilled sandwich and tea. Tea was not as good as home. Then the tour leader took us to Hotel Ramada. We were allocated 4 rooms and provided the room number. Although, 4 rooms were allocated, we were all gathered in one room and chatting. Me and one of my friend went to look around the hotel. We sat at the swimming pool area for some time. We had been told to assemble at the hotel lobby by 0530 pm. We all assembled there. Other passengers of the group joined us. The tour leader took us for an evening city tour. Tashkent is a beautiful city with amazing city planning. We had stopped at the independence square and Broadway for photo stop. We had enjoyed more at the Independence square. Later in the evening, we were taken to another Indian restaurant which was reserved for the group for a few hours. It was a party time. The DJ payed amazing Indian and western party numbers. This time our DJ friend was interested in the Vodka rather than the DJ challenge. We had filled ourselves with Vodka. Amazing belly dancers added to the hangover. We couldn’t eat much. A little bit of chicken and tandoori breads was enough. We went back to the Hotel. One of the guys was too much down with Vodka. The vodka effect made his wife flirt with us-youngest lot of the group. Just like before, all the friends were in one room; 3 on the joined double bed and 2 on the carpeted floor. We looked like tattered  clothes lying here and there.

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It was difficult for us to get up next morning. We got up with headache and backache. We had to get up as we would be staying in a different place today. A shower with warm water helped us a little to get over the hangover. We dressed and assembled at restaurant for  breakfast. Today we would be visiting Charvak. It was slightly on a higher altitude. Tashkent was around 25-27 degrees centigrade., however Charvak would be cooler. Charvak was amazing with the lake and boating on it. The group was there for a few hours. We boarded the coach for the resort. We had our lunch. The place looked like Gulmarg in Kashmir.  We had a amazing time there. We went to the hotel lobby and got our rooms allocated. We completed our pending sleep. The evening was cooler. We played cards for a few hours. The couples who were with us joined us in playing cards. We had a good time and became friendly with them. Gala dinner and vodka waited for us in the evening. We shook our leg with the belly dancers . The tour manager was a little hesitant to join due to his professional boundaries. We made him comfortable and easy and made him to dance and drink.  We had our share of drinks and food and went to the resort discotheque with the couples. We had a grand time too. Dancing our heart out with these couples.

We asked him to make a certain change in the tour program and leave for Tashkent a little late. We requested him to leave the panoramic city tour of Tashkent for day after tomorrow and take the group directly to the hotel. He understood and made these little changes. He took us to an Indian restaurant for lunch and took us straight to the hotel. The evening was free. We and the couples went out to explore the city together. They purchased some souvenirs from the local shops. We went back to our hotel for the gala dinner and drinks. We had never parties for 3 continuous nights ever, that too with drinks. We waited for Saturday night to party in India. Next day after breakfast we were taken for the city tour with photo stops at a few places. Day four also ended with drinks, belly dancing and party.

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Next day was free. So we drank heavily last night and got up late. We called up the couples in our room and another session of cards went on for hours. We had got our personal bottles  of whiskey in the suitcases. We took them out and started our day party. By afternoon, we were drunk again. We had light sandwiches and Russian salads for lunch. The couples went back to their rooms and we went out in the evening to experience the night life of Tashkent. We came back for our gala dinner. Since it was the last night of the trip, we prompted our DJ friend to take over. He took over and as usual the party mood was set. Even a few foreigners heard the music and joined the group. It was amazing finish to the last day. Next day as usual we got up late. In the evening, we board the bus and transported quite early to the airport as the check out time was 06 pm. We waited and chatted. The couple were trying to plan their next trip with us.

We landed in India early on Friday early morning. We all went to one of the friends place who lives alone and slept. We have travelled to many more destinations with cheap flight tickets  and will share the experience in the blog.

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