In search for diesel

Until now we’ve had no problem filling up our car with diesel, but here in Uzbekistan it’s a whole new game. This country runs on gas. Almost every vehicle is gas powered, even the buses have gas filled tanks on the roof and the smell of gas is noticeable in the cities. And there are lots of petrol stations along the road, but most of them are empty shells and if they ARE open, they don’t sell any diesel. Everything runs on gas.

We’re lucky we’re here in Uzbekistan in August, because one month later the cotton picking season starts and that means every agricultural vehicle gets priority to receive diesel. But still, getting diesel in August isn’t easy either. This morning we wanted to fill up our tank in Samarkand, because the more west we go the more difficult it gets to find diesel. So we asked our hotel manager where we could get diesel. He made a couple of calls and fifteen minutes later a guy appeared. We negotiated the litre price to 4000 somoni (euro 1,25) and a service fee of about 5 euros. I then stepped into his car with him and headed first to a place where we could change euros. I had to wait in he car for about two minutes, since I was not allowed to go in and then the guy reappeared with a black back carrying 760.000 somoni. I felt like a drug dealer counting some of the money, equivalent to two notes of 100 euros.


Then we set off to the diesel guy, but he was out of diesel and told us to go somewhere else. At that place the guy wanted 4200 per litre, but I refused after which he agreed to 4000. He then filled three jerry cans with 60 litres by scooping the diesel out of a big container with a plastic bottle. I’ve no idea about the quality of course but after filling up our tank at the hotel, the Blue Beast was happy enough. He started quickly and we set out for Bukhara, where we are now.


Our first impression of this silk road city is nice, but it’s way more touristy than we anticipated and a lot of the buildings are renovated to the point that they look more like newly constructed shopping centres . It’s hard to experience the authenticity I guess. Maybe that will change tomorrow.

For now, we are relaxing on the roof terrace of our hotel in the city centre and enjoying the summer breeze. We need that, since during the day the temperature here rose to 40 degrees celsius plus!

2 Responses to In search for diesel

  1. Marijke Ransijn

    I’m SOOOO enjoying reading about your travels. We lived in Dubai for a long time and I thought about traveling back to Holland from there but then we had to move to Shanghai… I’m keeping your blog in case we want to do the same in a few years. Please keep posting, I will translate all your posts to Dutch for the Polders & Wolkenkrabbers for October, December and February. I figure with 3 issues the trip would be covered. I wish you a wonderful and interesting rest of the journey!!

  2. Renne de Waard

    Hi Bert and Mirian,

    Much enjoying your travel blog and the great pictures.
    We have just driven from Croatia through Montenegro to Albania, then Kosovo and Macedonia through Bulgaria to Bucharest in Romania. Not sure what your travel route is going to be, but if you want a few tips, just email us or use FB. Very touristic but nonetheless spectacular we found Dubrovnic and the coastal towns of Split and Trogir in Croatia.
    Make sure you avoid the Ukraine, many people have warned us, even if the western part seems quiet at this moment.
    Since leaving Italy, we have not seen a Landcruiser until here in Bucharest, let alone any Toyota! Kosovo and Albania were fascinating but extremely poor with beggars along the road and people digging through garbage. A new 4 lane highway south of Pristina through the mountains of Albania took our breath away, it must have cost trillions to build. Generally people are friendly but every border post is a challenge while testing your patience. We get the odd chuckle and ‘mate’ when they discover our Dutch registered car contains two Aussies. In Kosovo they demand €30 for two weeks of ‘insurance’ when you enter the country. We showed them the green card but in Kosovo it is not valid. Locals pay €50 per year.
    I read about your third attempt to repair a sway bar. Not sure if your mean the connecting link or the sway bar itself. The link can definitely be welded but the sway bar itself is made of spring steel and any welding attempt will fail over time unless the steel is heat treated as per factory. With some careful driving you will get away without sway bar anyway. Is it the front or the rear?
    From us best wishes and a safe trip,
    Tanneke and Renne.

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