The Long Drive to Aydar Lake

I’m a bit behind on writing. Sorry about that. Three days ago all we did was drive. We drove almost 500 km in a day. That won’t mean much to a lot of you so I’ll translate: 310 miles. I know that doesn’t sound like much but the roads aren’t great, think rural state highways in Tennessee, and the speed limit is 80 km per hour/50 MPH most of the way. So, imagine driving 300 miles on crappy roads at 50 miles per hour. We were tired.

We were trying to make it to Aydar lake in one day but with two hours to go we gave up. The thing that was the real deciding factor for us was we weren’t 100% positive there was even a place to stay for us when we got there. I had seen one obscure reference to a hotel on someone else’s blog once during my research for our trip and my husband had found a pin on Google Maps that claimed there was a hotel at the very end of a road but there was no name and no contact info. We were going on faith in Google Maps and faith in other people. Oh! And we hadn’t eaten all day. So we quit.

Finding a hotel ended up being more of a hassle than it should have been. We pulled into a place with a big sign saying HOTEL, but they wouldn’t take us because we were foreigners…it was reminicient of China. We drove on for another 30 minutes and found a place right by an airport with okay reviews, by now the hunger and exhaustion had really sunk in and all we wanted to do was get some food and sleep and the parking lot was blocked off by bricks! There was nowhere for us to park!!! It was as if the place was only for walk up customers from the airport, drive up customers were not allowed.

We were too fucking exhausted to even deal with pulling over, going in, and asking where to park. We drove on.

We finally found a place to stay and it sucked. It looked beautiful! It really did! The A/C in our room didn’t work. It blew air, but not hot air. We had it set on 17° C/63° F all night long and yet it never even got cool enough to pull a sheet over ourselves. We were miserable. The bed was uncomfortable, plus I got food poisoning from the restaurant. It’s my first time to have food poisoning, I think, in over 3 years. That might not be true but I can’t remember having it. It’s been 3 days since and my stomach is still not back to normal.

The next day we woke up early and drove the remaining hour and a half to the the lake. Did I mention we were going on faith in Google Maps? Cos we were in the middle of the desert. At on point we turned off the main road and were driving down a dirt road and all we could see anywhere around us was desert. It was kinda hard to believe there was going to be anything there, but we were going to try.

We found it! And someone that worked there spoke French! We speak French! It was awesome! An Uzbek and an American do business in French! It was such a relief to be able to communicate in a language we have a much stronger grasp of than Russian. I mean, our French isn’t perfect, far from fluent, but it’s basic conversational and our Russian is barely beyond where is this/yes/no/please/thank you/fill it up please.

The room was very basic. I can’t imagine many, if any, of my American friends wanting to stay there. They were simple dorm style rooms: tiny with nothing in the room but two twin size beds and an air conditioner that worked. The toilets were shared, outside, a good five minutes’ walk down the sidewalk from the room. The food was simple but delicious.

After the French speaking man left communication became more difficult but the staff tried hard and we’re easy going. They were very excited to have Americans at their place and a little confused because they thought we were French, understandable.

When the sun started going down a bit we hit the lake. It was amazing. It was incredibly shallow forever. We went out about 300 meters before the water was to our shoulders. We just kept walking, and walking, and walking until the hotel was far in the distance and the water was still at our knees! The temperature was perfect and everything about it was relaxing until the dust storm rolled in. At that point we had no choice but to go inside. They served us dinner, we ate, we slept, we woke up in the morning, we packed up, and we drove to Tashkent.