More Photos

I’ve posted some more photos. The full set is here.

You can start with this one, the newest and work your way backward.

Bandwidth is just ridiculously slow here. So, this is as good as it gets.

Furthermore, when I leave Bukhara Saturday morning for Turkmenistan I have been informed it is an internet black hole so you will definitely not hear from me for at least a week. Sorry, I have no control over such things.


Bukhara Photos

So, here are some new photos. They begin here and then go backwards.

Most of these are from the environs of Bukhara and are new. As in new, meaning, these are places I have never seen before, myself.

Actually, the Ismail Samanid Mausoleum, I’m a bit embarrassed to note I didn’t know it existed the first time I came through in 2003. In 2004 I had learned about it, but forgot to see it as I was busy with something else. Just what, I cannot recall. So I was damned well going to see it this time. And I did. It’s an important piece of architecture in the region and presages a lot of developments, and ornament the Seljuk Turks will carry with them into Iran and subsequently into Anatolia.

Speaking of Turks, the photos of the Malik-i-Rabat, a giant fortress along the Royal Road between Samarkand and Bukhara, I am glad to have. This fortress, too, is important and presages tools and tricks and styles and techniques the Turks are soon to take with them as they begin their last migratory leg towards Anatolia.

The full Silk Road set is here.

Bandwidth is a serious concern here in Bukhara, so photos are limited to essentials.

But, as always, enjoy!

More Photos From Samarkand

It always happens. I’ve been ill the last 36 hours. It happens. But I’m better now.

Here is the full set. 

And here is the place to start where we left off.


Samarkand I Hardly Knew Ye!

Arrived in Samarkand last night.

I was totally shocked. The city has changed from the quaint dump it was in 2003, to a masterpiece of modern urban planning.

Seriously, I hate towns that are renovated. But whoever planned this and executed it: bravo. It has not been Disneyfied, but dignified.

I’ll have photos of town in the coming days and you can compare and contrast from those in 2003.

But for now here are photos from the Bishkek to Osh journey over the mighty Tien Shan. Holy moly. What a drive. What an experience.

As always the full set is here. And you can start from where we left off, here. 

Bishkek Quick Hit

The last time I was here in was 2003 and the Iraqi insurgency was just getting started. Most people thought I was nutsto be coming out here. They were probably right.

Last time I was in Bishkek it was a bit more than halfway on my journey from Istanbul to Bombay via Tibet. Those last two weeks in India were tough, especially after the car wreck coming down from the Everest Base Camp. That sucked. Two weeks in India with three herniated discs. Not so fun. Not that India is ever really fun. It’s always compelling, but fun? No. But I digress.

Has Bishkek changed?

Interesting question.

Yes and no.

Physically: yes. There is some new construction. There are no more Ladas or Zhigulis or Volgas on the road. Most of the cars are Japanese. And not only Japanese but grey market Japanese in the sense that the steering wheel is on the opposite side of the car, but they drive on the same side of the road as the US does. Strange. Lots of Hondas. A few Mercedes. There are more mobile phones on the street. The facades of buildings are renovated somewhat, but they are still the same Kruschev or Brezhnev era brutalist constructions.

The people are still a mix of East and West. One will find the occasional blond with Asian eyes. And one will find the occasional pure Mongol-looking man or woman with deep blue or green eyes. It’s jolting. But mostly they are a mix. I do not hear any English on the street. I hear some Russia and some Kyrgyz. Mostly Kyrgyz, but it’s close to 50/50.

One large change: lots of women in hejab. Back in 2003 it was simply unheard of for women to be totally covered in Bishkek. Maybe a headscarf on an old babushka. But a young twentysomething in all black? Political Islam is everywhere.

I’ll have more soon. Hoping to head to the mountains tomorrow so I’ll be out of touch for two days at the least.

Here are a few photos to tide you over until then.