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Step Right Up, Get Your Picture Taken With AsiaWheeling

This morning began just as the last had, with a giant and savage breakfast at the Caravan Sarai Hotel in Samarkand Uzbekistan.

Stomachs plenty full, we climbed on the Speed TRs and started wheeling past recently build, bizarrely empty office buildings and unsettling water advertisements.  We decided for this wheel to just choose a direction and keep going in it, hoping thst as it usually did, this strategy would yield some adventure and insight into the city of Samarkand.

Eventually, we found ourselves in front of yet another giant ancient Uzbek complex. This one we’d never head of, but it was giant and inviting, so we locked out bikes and headed over to investigate.

It was some 50 cents to get in, so we decided it worth a look. The interior was delightful, and completely devoid of fellow visitors.

It had a very Registan-esque flavor to it, except that his one featured a number of fruit trees and grape vines inside the courtyard, which really made for a delightful change from the blue cloudless sky and the sandy desert tones of this ancient city.

We wandered in and out of the buildings that made up the complex finding them all quite deserted, all the more interesting, and very ornate.

And then we were wheeling again. Tearing down the road, and really putting miles between us and the complex. Suddenly, it was very obviously time to eat, we realized. Luckily, there were plenty of restaurant all around us, as we rode, and we had simply to select one. The one we did choose was a fantastic, truly epic place, where we were able to eat a delightful meal of Shashlik, soup, bread, and salad for about 3 dollars each.

They served the Shashlik there with the most delightful red pepper powder, which was made all the more come hither by it’s fantastic packaging.

After we got back into town, we decided to check out the Guri Amir,  which we’d just seen the back side of the day before. It was also impressive, and we took our time riding around it, taking it in from all sides. One could see, upon circumnavigation, that the restoration was still very much underway.

When we stopped outside the place to catch our breath in the shade, we quickly struck up a conversation with some of the locals who were doing the same.

This conversation soon turned into a kind of photo shoot, in which all the visitors to the Guri Amir, were invited to pose with the strange foreigners. We must have posed with 20 or 30 people by the end of it.

One of them even went and had the photo printed for us.

When we got back to the hotel, we found ourselves in conversation with the director of a school of industry, not far outside the city of Samarkand. After a brief introductory conversation outside next to the Speed TRs, which I believe added credibility, he informed us that he had in his possession some lamb, some cold chicken and some vodka that he would be deeply offended if we did not consume with him.

And so he called out to the hotel staff to prepare a table and we sat down with him. After perhaps an hour more of eating, drinking, and chatting, he announced that he was heading off to bed. We bid him good slumbers and headed off ourselves to find internet somewhere in this town.

That was no easy task, but 5 cafes, and 4 internet clubs later, we found a place that was willing to let us plug our machines into their network. Now if only the internet had been faster that 2 or 3 kb/s once we’d done so, it would have been a true victory.


  1. laura | November 30th, 2010 | 9:10 pm

    that tile work is breathtaking!

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