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2nd May Urgench/Tashkent Train

May 10, 2013

2nd May. Urgench/Kiva Train.
There are two ways in getting from Urgench to Tashkent, plane or train. We chose the slower overnight express. I thought ours was a first class booking, but in getting to our sleeper founnd we were with a couple of young blokes.
But if either of the alternatives had’ve happened, we wouldn’t have met Umid and Umrbak, pronounced Moobek. They are boxing trainers, don’t speak a word of English and were apologetic they were sitting on our lower bunk beds.
It was a couple of hours into the journey, they had played cards on the top bunk at the beginning and it was time to eat something, we gestured them to come down to sit and eat. Umid seemed to have brought enough food to feed the carriage while we were going to make do with a couple of instant noodle dishes.
The language barrier was almost complete but we were stilll able to learn a little about themselves: they were trainers who taught younger kids, both were in their late 30s, married with 2 and 3 kids respectively. Umrbek was a teetotaller and more reserved. He was well built, tall and had more Russo/Uzbek features while Umid was of pure Genghis Khan stock and broad as he was tall. His face would crease up wondrously when he smiled which was often. Umrbek had been shot in the side at some stage, not sure how and when but that may have curtailed his boxing career I would think.
Umid presented a bottle of vodka while we ate and proceeded to empty it at a good rate, insisting we help him. He also insisted on sharing the food with us. Our noodles remained dry and unopened. I though it my responsibillity to help him finish the bottle to help his sobriety. But then, vodka bottle empty (they are only 500ml), he produced a one litre bottle of pivo or beer. Again I felt obliged to help. I think Umrbek appreciated my offering. He was a little concerned about his friend.
When it became time for bed Umid struggled to climb to the top bunk, I offered to swap with him which brought great laughter, better that than have a very heavy weight crashing down. But he was soon asleep, his body disconcertingly close to the edge of the bed, his arm outstretched over thin air and hand waving a few centimetres from my face. We didn’t hear a sound from him till the sun was well up.

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