Coming into Uzbekistan, into the religion center of the Great Silk Road

Camels, the Great Silk Road trademark. For centuries, these animals served the lively trade route, bringing merchants across the arid land to thriving cities that to this day many still maintain their glorious days along the golden roads. For us, we don’t have much to trade, but we shall revisit some of these cities on our shiny aluminum steed along the asphalt *grin*
(Uzbekistan … 10.02.05 to 10.03.05)

As we rode pass the custom, a stretch of blankness & this signpost greeted us. It generally summed up our to-be journey in this country.

Ah…food :) How can one not smile at the sight of these delights! Our 1st homestay in Uzbekistan & it came with a twist too. The house we have approached took us in & we had ‘chay’ (tea). While waiting for dinner (it was to be their national dish, ‘osh’, a rice dish cooked with carrots, potatoes, lamb’s fat & meat and finally sprinkle with fresh onions), our host took us for a walking tour of his village. We saw fields for wheat, cotton & paddy still quite frozen under the wintery sky. On returning, his brother told him that their mother had wanted us to leave at once. No other details, we took our barang-barang & headed off.

His name is Oltiboy from the Olot district. His house sits on the next lane from the previous one. He knew we had come from there, but welcomed us with warm out-stretched arms anyway. His family was very excited to meet us and in no time, lay out the wide spread of dishes for us. Shortly, other neighbours arrived to see the new kids in town.

Stack of bloody cow skins piled on the floor. In the cold season, they gave off little smell. It’s our 1st such RA sight and I felt a sense of uneasiness. The owner bought skins of lamb from the local farmers too and trade them to buyers who would in turn sell them to factories in China. Can our spot a couple of leather boots, handbags and jackets on them?

This morning snow had drifted down, giving our bikes an edelweiss touch “..small and white, clean and bright. You look happy to greet me..”

“..Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow..” we headed on, fresh spirited towards the ancient city of Buxoro (the Uzbek ‘x’ is pronounced as the English ‘h’)

The impressive entrance of Nadir Nasruddin Medressa. Notice the colourful & detail tileworks, you can imagine the hardwork & patience of the craftmen.

The 3 boys who gave us the city tour, Akmal, Farruk and Otabek. They were eager to show us around and practice their English. Here we have climbed onto the statue of Hoja Nasruddin sitting on this donkey. If I’m not mistaken, he is the guy we know as ‘Afandi”, a mullah & a Sufi renowned for his wisdom and sense of humour. Ah we meet at last!

An old blacksmith still lively at work in his museum-like workshop.

It takes less than 5 mins to walk from their home to the Labi hauz. If not for Farruk, we might not have the privilege to spend the night & see so much of the old city. Here is his mother and his younger brother.

No, we’ve not come for repair in this bicycle shop near the bazaar at Vobkent town. Evidently, the Uzbek made much more uses of the 2-wheeler in their daily travels.

Azim droved us around in his gas-driven Russian ‘machine’…it broke down on the way. Well, out of gas…heehee…fortunately, it still runs on petrol!

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