Health & safety
The militsia (police) have become much less of a nuisance to travellers in recent years. Worried about Uzbekistan’s international image, President Karimov has curbed the police habit of shaking down travellers for bribes, although this still occurs, particularly at metro stations. See Crooked Officials for tips on dealing with police.
Upon arrival at Tashkent International Airport, you might be approached at customs by a man offering to help you fill out your customs declaration form; although a friendly enough gesture, travellers have been asked for money (usually US$5) for this unofficial service. Avoid this by asking for two customs forms in English and fill them out on your own. A similar annoyance occurs at the luggage carousel. Your bags might be taken off before they reach daylight and delivered on a cart by an attendant who will ask for a US$5 tip.
In the case of a medical emergency contact your embassy, which can assist in evacuation. The Tashkent International Medical Clinic (TIMC; 191 01 42; Sarikulskaya 38) has state-of-the-art medical and dental facilities and is run by professional Western and Western-trained doctors, all of whom speak perfect English. In case of an emergency, call a TIMC mobile phone (185 60 93, 185 84 81). A short/long consultation from 8am to 5pm is US$55/110. House calls and appointments after hours are possible for an additional fee. It’s difficult to find so call for directions.
Local hospitals are a lot cheaper but are often less than sanitary. Hotel reception desks are helpful in directing visitors to local doctors.
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