Ozzy in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan
Photogallery: Glen's trip to Uzbekistan and
Wrestling with a 80-year-old, shopping for wives, eagle hunting, sheep fighting and being beaten with sticks: welcome to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan!
Former All Black and outdoors bloke Glen Osbourne needed a physically testing Intrepid Journey off the rugby-touring track. He was offered a ticket to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, "two countries I never knew existed," admits Glen.
When the Soviet Union split in 1991, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan achieved independence. Russian remains the national language, which proved to be a hurdle for Glen.
"I speak a little bit of English, a little bit of Maori, a little bit of Fijian and Samoan and a little bit of Japanese."
After finding out where the countries are, Glen became concerned about his diet.
"My food is more or less a roast, a boil up, or kaimoana," Glen said. "What scared me the most was food poisoning. My wife thinks I'm a bit of a sissy when I get sick. I think I'm pretty tough but that's only one man's opinion."
Travelling in a predominantly Muslim country was a first-time experience for Glen. He was unsure what kind of reception a Catholic lad from Wanganui would get. "My mates told me I was going to get shot," he says.
"The home stays were the pinnacles of my trip. I've learnt so much in the way of their culture, the way that they cook, I know how to make dumplings now, just by watching and just seeing the way my culture compares to theirs."
The Intrepid Journeys experience helped Glen
realise there is more than one way to travel. "I travelled to
so many countries in my rugby career and it's disappointing that
I've lost the opportunity to experience so many beautiful things,"
"I'm blessed with this opportunity of coming here, a place that I didn't even know existed.