Sunday, February 27, 2005
Regardless of how it may have sounded (computer is a terrible conveyance of meaning), I did enjoy my time in Uzbekistan and loved the old cities we saw. And I do want to go back one day and see them (and other sights) when it isn't the middle of winter (or the other extreme, the middle of summer).
Bukhara was a beautiful city. Very little time was spent in the new city, instead we chose to wander the old city. And it's beautiful. The old buildings, small alleys between the old homes. Large covered bazaars that have been used for trading and selling goods for over a thousand years (I believe). Pretty wild to be in a city that sits on the Great Silk Road. And the history of these places is incredible and so complex. At some point when I have access to a library I am going to read up on it all. For now I'll continue to sit on the couch. The Old City is pretty much contained in one area, the new city remaining on its outskirts.
Khiva is a smaller town, without the large bazaars and large number of medressas. A nice quieter place, the old city contained inside the new city. Unfortunately the day we visited Khiva was at least 430 degrees C so it was a quick one (my sis even used our tea pot to try and warm her feet. Didn't work so well). Khiva is out west in the country, in the Khorezm region (ni olden times it was a different country, not Uzbekistan.
There is a parable about Khorezm people, told by the rest of Uzbekistan. Two men are sitting out on a lake fishing. One catches a fish who promises them a wish in return for setting it free. "The only catch (snigger!) is that whatever you wish for, the other will get double. So if you wish for $1 million, he'll get $2 million. The man for Khorezm said: "I'd like to be blind in one eye". That is what they think of people from this region. Sis's ex-Peace Corps town is in this region. The people....I am working on that blog.
Samarkand is a city whose size is between that of Bukhara and Tashkent. Not that small, and not that big. Unfortunately, the sights are not contained at all. You have to wander from old thing past new things to another old thing. Takes away from the experience a bit, for me the picky traveler. And the people there were not all that nice. But it's been a while since beggars with babies at the ready (to throw or something I don't know) literally ran after me, so there was that to consider. Sometimes it sucks being the only tourist in town. I think the buildings and tilework were most impressive here. Built on a larger scale than either of the other cities.
And there is much more to see. So many other old cities and ruins. Not to mention the Fergana Valley (I may have spelled that wrong) out east which we didn't see thanks to an overwhelming number of bus swallowing and people killing avalanches.
Definitely a place to see. Yes, it can be some rough traveling and there is a lot to deal with, but it's worth it.