Saturday, May 14, 2005
Travel Guide-Uzbekistan now the hot, hot HOT spot
The first time I was abroad, I encountered a special breed of traveler, the type who seems unnaturally obsessed with/tuned into(depending on your tolerance for "next big thing" devotees)spots on the globe that were the cheapest, friendliest, most debauched and least overrun with foreigners. As anyone who has spent an unhealthy amount of time around Western expats(I admit I'm guilty of this venal sin) will tell you, there is a fine line between adventurer and intolerable bore, and far too many individuals fall into the latter category.
Since 2001, I've had a running joke with a few friends about Uzbekistan, a place whose oppressive dictatorship, barren Central Asian landscape, and post-Soviet economy makes it a seemingly perfect target for these thrill-seeking locusts. Every time I hear one of these people relate their travel stories, I've fought the urge to say, "well, I hear Tashkent is the next big thing, man! Better get there before the Aussies play it out!" Finally, I feel like encouraging them might do more than make me feel superior-it might rid the world of a few of these insufferable asses.
Sadly, the current anti-government demonstrations and the escalating violence mean that Uzbekistan is now a legitimately interesting spot for the "danger zone" enthusiasts, and if some sort of democracy emerges, a tchotchke laden free market nightmare a la Prague. Either way, I have to find a new city to represent my disdain for travel junkie decadence.
Posted by M at 6:14 PM