In the three weeks since we started our journey, we'd broken down about four times, been to half a dozen mechanics, and tried all sorts of stop-gap measures to solve our car issues, but there was still some sort of big, underlying problem whose name we didn't yet know. Finally we were about to find out.
When we left off last time, you'll recall our radiator had sprung a leak in eastern Turkmenistan, but even after we got it patched, our car wouldn't start. With time running out on our visas, we had no choice but to tow our car six hours to the border and get it fixed in Uzbekistan. We got to the border after dark, and it was well after midnight by the time we filled out all the necessary paperwork, purchased car insurance, and emerged on the other side.
Thoroughly exhausted, we parked on the side of the road and caught a few hours of sleep before continuing on to the next big city of Bukhara.
Compared to Turkmenistan, people in Uzbekistan seemed friendlier, and the country had a totally different, more relaxed vibe. But as much as we wanted to explore, we were determined to find the best repair garage in town so we could figure out what was wrong with our car once and for all.
As we drove up, seven or eight mechanics dropped what they were doing and swarmed around our car, like first year med students surrounding a doctor performing an operation. They seemed like real professionals, and I felt like our car was in good hands.
But the news they'd deliver wasn't good.
Listen to the latest episode of my podcast as we figure out exactly what happened to our car, decipher what Прокладка means, and learn why you should never, ever put an egg in your radiator.
Throughout the program, I mention the text message conversations I had with my friend Rob, asking for advice as our car problems got progressively worse.
As a special bonus for this episode, you can read our full back-and-forth correspondence here.
Finally, in case you missed it, Condé Nast Traveler's website recently featured a great interview with my brother Drew and our friend Rosi, and their Travelogue podcast also included a lengthy discussion about our trip on its episode "In Search of Adventure" (listen beginning around 19:45). Note that both the article and the podcast include spoilers of our experiences that will be covered on future episodes of this podcast, so don't click these links if you'd prefer to be surprised!
Thanks for listening!
photos by Drew Gurian