No matter what I will write or which pictures I will show you … this post will not give justice to what I experienced in Uzbekistan.
Crossed the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan border I jumped in a Taxi directed to Bokhara… Popo, my derrière was asking me pity and, as I figured out in Bokhara (yes: mirror and contortionism), it was right: in one area there was no skin anymore; the sweat and rubbing with the pants made it all rather painful … no, no! No pictures!
The landscape was quite monotonous and the periphery unattractive. We took a road in poor conditions (as almost all the roads in Uzbekistan), we turned the corner and … oooooh wow!
I wondered if even the caravans, after spending weeks in the desert, felt the marvel and the joy I was feeling at that moment … it was just pure beauty.
One of the first things you need to get acquainted with is money and in Uzbekistan is almost funny because you feel really really rich as never before. People carry money into plastic bags. It takes concentration and ability to count tens and dozens of banknotes at the time of the payment.
Despite some doubts about the construction techniques it must be admitted that some buildings are very resistent and still there after 100-200 years:
I enjoyed discover every single corner of Bokhara and I entered in every single court, where I could find beuty and some refresh … it was really very hot!
I stayed there 5 days and I really felt in love … a very charming small city, full of history and beauty.
When me and Popo were fit again we mounted on the bicycle heading Samarqand. A pretty nice road, cotton fields, head-wind (horrible) and …
… heat! Sultry humid heat …
During the hottest hours I had to stop … it was simply impossible to continue. Even in the Karakum desert I was not suffering so much. So I was enjoying (quite ironic) some food and drinks (actually very poor choices) in restaurants like this:
… of course I was not surprised when the firsts “belly troubles” started …
After few hours I was eating (literally because of the dust) the road again … mmmmh I hear something … Wait, I have to stop and remove the earphones … a little voice: “Hellooooo!! Heeeeellooooo!!”. But, where does it come from?? I looked around … “Heeeeellooooo!!” … There he is! At the other side of the road! A little boy in singlet and shorts, straight on the tip of his feet and his arms straight-straight to the sky to be better noticed … he was maybe one meter and few centimetres high in total: “Heeeeeellooooo little mouse!”. Satisfied and happy he returned to his mother … and so started my “Heeeellooooooo” time.
Women and men greeted me from the fields, the kids ran to reach me on the roadside … they didn’t want anything (even no candy!) they just wanted to say “heelloooo” and get photographed.
I was invited to enjoy delicious (the best I ever had) melons:
apples, pears, grapes:
It is amazing how PEOPLE did my days on the road. My passage was always a celebration … everywhere!
But it is not always a joy, or at least for me … sometimes it is hard for the soul … my heart wants just to explode, like when I meet this family collecting empty bottles from the road with their barrow and donkey:
As soon as I started to ride again I cried. But not for their condition. For mine. I left everything and everyone because “something was missing”, without really knowing what I’m looking for. They have nothing and they seem so serene and happy. I cried because they were/are simply WONDERFUL … and I have the honor to get connected with them. “Byeee byeeee” the two children blowed me kisses with their little dirty hands.
After 3 days I reached Samarqand. I don’t know why, but I always have been fascinated by the blue city and finally, almost as for enchantment, I was there … so surreal. Once again I enjoyed 5 days of pure relax between history, beauty, architectural engineering, parks and markets. Pura vida!
I was trying to imagine how was it in the past (100-200-300 years ago) and especially how was it before that the Mongols destroyed almost everything.
With the passion for the sky and the universe, I know that when you rise your eyesight of 90 degrees, you can be surprised by what you can see:
Often I was walking around with my nose pointing to the sky … wow!
Uzbek people have many qualities … maybe they still have some problems with the English language (like me actually):
They can even improve in predicting the future, since this task is left to the budgerigars:
But in hospitality they are Master … women and children are just D I V I N E:
I was so fascinated by their lifes, their houses and their technologies, like this antenna for the TV! (right):
The mud-floors (outside and inside of the houses) are kept constantly humid (to avoid the dust rising up), by spreading water. Women spent almost all the day cleaning the house (like my sister).
I stopped in places indicated as villages on my map, but actually they were just few houses in the middle of nowhere …
… and it is exactly in those remote places that you meet spacial people like her:
a 15 years old girl with the maturity of a self-confident woman. She brought me to the hills, she showed me seeds, fruits and flowers that can be eaten in the desert. It is incredible how people can adapt to the environment.
I slept under the stars with them, warmed by their blankets. They shared their water and food with me … and believe me when I said that in certain places these things are very precious:
No, it is not going better. I was thinking that with the time I will become less sensitive and maybe the “goodbye-part” will become a routine … I was wrong … as in Iran, I can see all of theme in front of their homes, with a gentle smile, one hand on the heart and the other one rised up “bye bye!“. The only thing I could say to them (also because I was deeply moved) was “rachmat” (thank you) with my both hands on the heart.
I was pointing to south-east, direction Tajikistan … yes, because I will have a small deviation from the main silk road … I want to be in the mountains … good ones: P A M I R.
Slowly I was reaching the next country with a mixture of feeling: sadness for the end of the Uzbekistan chapter and excitement for the change of the landscape around me. The first hills, and then mountains, appeared.
Goodbye Uzbekistan. I’m so grateful for every single day I’m living on the road … this trip is amazing.
Now in Dushanbe, preparing the last things before THE CLIMB.
Stef and Popo