Ekim Bey

Taking leave of our comrades, we went through Irkeshtam towards Russia. After many adventures and a host of great difficulties, without following the usual roads from Kashgar, all of which went to Osh, we managed to reach the town of Andijan in the Ferghana region.

We had decided to go through this once great region, because we wished to take advantage of the opportunity to inspect the ruins of several ancient towns, about which we had heard a great deal and which we expected to find chiefly by means of logical deductions from certain historical data.

We had thus greatly lengthened our journey before we came out on to the main road near Andijan. In Margelan we bought our railway tickets to Krasnovodsk and were already seated in the train when we found, to our great distress, that we had not enough money for the rest of our trip nor even for the next day’s food. Moreover, during our travels through Kashgar our clothes had become so shabby that we were not fit to be seen in public, so money was also needed for buying clothes.

We therefore decided not to go as far as Krasnovodsk, but to change trains at Chemyaevo and go to Tashkent, a large centre where we could send for money by telegraph and manage to live as best we could until it arrived.

We did so. Having arrived at Tashkent and taken a room in a cheap hotel not far from the station, we first of all went to send off the telegrams and then, as this took almost all the money we had left, we went to the bazaar to sell our remaining possessions: rifles, watches, pedometer, compass, maps, in short, everything on which we could hope to raise any money at all.

In the evening, while we were walking along the street and pondering on our situation, and wondering where the people to whom we had telegraphed might be and whether they would have the sense to remit the money immediately, without noticing it we reached Old Tashkent. We sat down in a Sart chaikhana, continuing to ponder on what we would do if the money were delayed; and after long deliberation and examination of the various possibilities, we finally decided that, there in Tashkent, Ekim Bey should give himself out to be an Indian fakir and I a sword-swallower and a man who could consume any quantity of poisonous substances. And we made all kinds of jokes about it.