This is an extract from my account of the The Khan Teams Mongol Rally. It is the tale of 3 cars and 6 people’s attempt to drive from England to Mongolia. Our route was to take us 10,000 miles and through 18 countries We did so for the experience, adventure and to raise money for the Cool Earth charity.

The Story so far: We have driven through Iran and spent the last three nights in Turkmenistan. Earlier today we crossed the border to Uzbekistan.

Day 18a

The Khan team parked at the hut on the Turkmenistan/Uzbek border where we spent the night

Day 19 – Latif 

 August 1st 2013 – Uzbekistan – somewhere

We are trying to find somewhere to camp in Uzbekistan. We have driven about a mile up a dirt track. We are all tired. No sooner had I exited the border gates yesterday back to Turkmenistan than the other Khans arrived. We camped in and around a small, disused hut. The heat and the sand didn’t make for a good night’s sleep. Today we are exhausted and this road is proving fruitless. We pull over to discuss our options.

A small white Daewoo van – a type commonly used as taxis in this part of the world — immediately stops beside us. A small, stocky man is becoming quite animated. Dave appears from his conversation with the man and informs us we can’t camp here. He seems to have determined from the dialogue that this road is used by heavy farming vehicles throughout the night. The man and his tall associate have exited their car and the small man is peering into I Think I Khan, in which Joss and I are seated. It becomes clear, mainly through a series of hand gestures, he would like us to stay at his house. It doesn’t look like he is taking no for an answer.

Ten minutes and several dirt tracks later we are being directed to manoeuvre our cars over a small brook into the entrance of a mud-walled barn. The entrance leads to a small courtyard behind the barn, and next to that stands a building that is obviously the man’s house. He and his wife are laying out rugs and cushions in a neat square and excitedly beckoning us to sit down. No sooner are we seated than food is thrown down before us. Latif is the man’s name and his excitement and pride at having the strange bunch of foreigners as his guests is palpable. He is hurriedly cutting up tomatoes and peppers and mixing them with what looks like yoghurt whilst instructing his wife to cut melons and bring chai. The evening extends before us, the food is all home produced and basic but delicious, and the vodka is ceremonial and free flowing. Latif excitedly invites more and more of his friends over until there are at least 15 of them and us. Numerous phone calls are being made to other friends and the phone passed to us to prove we exist. The obvious surprise on the other end of the phone line causes huge amounts of mirth. Gerant, Latif’s tall associate, makes cycling actions and points to the bikes on the back of I Know I khan. We detach one and he disappears to a mythical supermarket and appears 10 minutes later with a large bottle of beer. Suggestions are being made regarding Thomas and Latif’s attractive 20-year-old daughter. Numerous pictures are taken. Whiskey is dragged from under one of the seats of I Am Sure I Khan and a bowls of flavoursome rice and vegetables are placed in front of us. We drink, laugh and make broken conversation until what feels like deep into the night before the rugs are rearranged into mattresses and we sleep in a row, the five of us and Latif, under the stars in Uzbekistan.

Day 19

I have woken up to far better sights. Turkmenistan/Uzbek border

Day 20

The gang, Latif centre, behind our sleeping area and blankets/p>

Day 19a

We stopped at Bukhara for lunch. Children love Bukhara’s ancient architecture!

click pic for more Bukhara

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