Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tashkent

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:59 PM
This morning breakfast was wonderful. Omelettes on order accompanied by the smooth melody of an harp.

The old town of Tashkent was my first sight of Moslem architecture, mausoleums, mosques, madrasas and square. Blue tile at every corner. blue domes every time you look up at the sky. sky reaching minarets. And the Hippo was awed. "These are new. Wait till you see the real old ones." the more seasoned travelers in the group told me. And so I couldnt wait to get to Bukhara and Samarkand. But the oldest koran, brought by Timur, was on display in the mosque museum here. Photos were not allowed, but all the same to me, since I prefer Hebrew writing than Arabic.

The big bazar inside a spacecraft shaped building was a small treat. the aroma of the spices just hits you when you walk in. dried fruit, loads and loads of spices, produce of every kind, but not really my kind of thing. One cant take spices and produce home as souvenirs. but asian bazars are fun to browse through. they remind me of my childhood in southeast asia. We had a late lunch/early dinner at the Caravan restaurant, raved by the group who stayed in another hotel (their hotel was far from town center, and since they arrived 2 days early, they've explored town and discovered the wondeful Caravan restaurant, which was just around the corner from their hotel). Pumpkin, potato and minced meat dumplings, dill soup. Their rice which contained meat, some nuts and raisins, much resembled the moorish chicken rice, was simply out of this world. never had food so simple and so delicious.

The evening flight to Urgench was a nightmare. Although the airport was brand new, just opened 3 days ago, and every inch in western style and clean, the uzbek airline was jet assisted propellers (huh?), and it took over 2 hours to cover a little over 1000Km. One propeller plane after another, all lined up on the tarmak, and busload of people kept arriving and dropping passengers, and propeller planes take off one after another, in perfect order, just like in a perfectly drilled soviet army. About half way through the flight, the heat came on and we were heated alive. I was sitting next to the right wing and the propellers were very very loud, but the flight was not rocky.

The flight was 1 hour late and we're arrived Urgench in the dark. One member of the group lost her luggage. Arriving at Khiva, I've noticed the ancient Silk Road oasis mud walls. Imposing. A bit haunting in the dark of the night. Since no cars were allowed inside the city walls, we had to carry our luggage on cobblestone roads to our hotel Malika, situated in the middle of town, surrounded by ancient historical monuments. The hotel was quaint, small and pretty. Too tired to check out the hotel, I crashed, leaving the adventure for the next day.

Khast Iman

Tashkent photos

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