Brisbane2Bristol

On our great adventure

Uzbekistan…The Heat is on…

After riding the short distance from Dushanbe on battered roads to the Tajikistan border, but first we had to get around a herd of cows….

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At the border gate we were greeted by money changers…
After finally agreeing in an exchange rate that suited all parties we added a large pile to our already huge stack of Som-(Uzbek money) this money is crazy…

While I walked the 20 metres over to the border control office, Clive rode the bike, after showing the border guard our papers he then went on to tell Clive that he was going to fine him $20 US for not wearing a helmet that twenty metres between buildings, Clive protested and said that he wasn’t going to pay, the officer was insistent that we pay him the monies or we wouldn’t cross the border and we weren’t getting a receipt, so we got out a pen and paper and said we were going to write down his badge number with that he said just go…..

We got stamped out of Tajikistan pretty quickly, then rode on to the Uzbekistan border area where I was separated from Clive and Aaran.

I had to fill out a form that even wearing my glasses it was still hard to see what was written, we had to write down exactly every currency we were carrying and how much we had, what medical drugs we had, electrical goods etc, the young officer who I saw told me that as I was a traveller, that meant I was rich… I didn’t reply to his remark…

He proceeded to go through my camera asking who the people were on the photos, who I knew in Dushanbe, he wanted to know every country we had been to and where we are going….

It went on like this for a while then Clive appeared and then said I could go….

Now we could set off towards Bukhara, but first we had to pay to cross a bridge pontoon bridge first, before we even got out if the town we had lost Arran lol, so we waited for about half an hour, eating a tasty momos from a road side cafe…

Thinking he would ride past us, as we couldn’t go back and find him as most of the streets were one way…
We couldn’t wait any longer, so we set off towards Bukhara….

After riding for about 20 minutes or so we came across Arran taking photos of the desert, we frightened the living daylights out of him, when we pulled up along side…

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Now we were altogether we decided we would do our best to get to Bukhara today, it was going to be along hot ride, the roads were pretty good so we shouldn’t have a problem doing the 540 klms.

The scenery was pretty amazing some of the rock formations were incredible…

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Lots of trucks belching out black fumes…

As we riding through past some mountains a small landslide started, lots of dust and rocks but nothing major, it didn’t block the road or do any damage, but was fascinating to see!

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A different story if you had been at the point of the falling rocks though.
We were having to to stop regularly to buy cold water as we couldn’t quench our thirst, the water we were carrying had gone hot, we weren’t surprised really the temperature for the day was 53 degrees….
It was cooler with our visors on our helmets closed, as soon as you opened them it felt like we were next to a furnace..

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Lot of oil freight being moved…

Even though it was really hot there was no problem with either of bikes, but Clive’s soles of his boots were coming apart, the glue was melting…lol

We rode into Bukhara in the dark…

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We thought it would get cooler, but it seemed to get hotter…

We followed Arran up a walking path that had low steel barriers either side of the path, as we rode through one of our side boxes clipped the metal bar and sent us and the bike spinning into a ditch…

We and the bike were fine so up we got, Clive was really tired and misjudged the gap i think, the hotel was just around the corner…
The hotel owner gave us a really good deal because we said we could pay in American dollars…:)
This hotel had a real old Bukarha style charming and cosy with all mod cons…too tired to eat we showered and went straight to bed exhausted, with the Air-Con at the arctic blizzard setting!

The following morning after a buffet breakfast, where we stuffed ourselves, the three if us went to the old city to explore, so off down the cobbled streets that were narrow, and at times felt like we were in a maze…the streets were full of charm, tiny houses and hotels everywhere, it didn’t take us long to find the old city…
Bukhara has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, when you visit you can see why!

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there were some amazing doors at the front of peoples properties…

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WOW…it didn’t disappoint, this place is amazing we had never seen anything like this (except in books) before….

Just near the Kalon Minaret, is the 16th-century congregational Kalon Mosque, which is big enough for 10,000 people, the court yard is so peaceful with just one tree that you can sit under giving some welcome shade.
In Soviet times it was used as a warehouse, and was reopened as a place of worship in 1991.

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Lots of ceramics on sale..

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And carpets of course…

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lots of cars doing the mongolian rally in town…

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Really old family tea house…

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The Minaret of the Kalon is 47m tall with 10 m deep foundations placed on reeds to make it Earthquake proof and was built by the Karakhanid ruler Arslan Khan in 1127, the name kalon means ‘great’ in Tajik. In 850 years the minaret has only needed cosmetic repairs.
Also known as the Tower of Death, as for centuries criminals were executed by being tossed off the top…
The minaret is really stunning and only by seeing it you can appreciate that how one hundred years after its construction Genghis Khan would have been impressed by its beauty and that he changed his order to keep it while the rest of the city was destroyed in about 1218…

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Uzbekistan was once part of the ancient Persian Empire and was later conquered by Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C. Uzbekistan became Uzbek Republic in 1924 and became the independent Uzbekistan Soviet Socialist Republic in 1925. Under Soviet rule, Uzbekistan grew cotton with the help of irrigation, mechanization, and chemical fertilizers and pesticides, that caused serious environmental damage!

We had a lot of things to cram in, but with it being hot it slowed you down….

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Especially wearing this….

The Ark, a royal town-within-a-town, is Bukhara’s oldest structure, and was occupied from the 5th century right up until 1920, when it was bombed by the Red army. It’s about 80% ruins inside now.
This is an incredible looking ‘fort’ with sloping outer walls which i think would be easier to climb than a straight up wall, so we had a little try!

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Part of the old wall…

Lyabi-Hauz, which in Persian means”at the edge of a pool”, is a plaza built around a pool in 1620, locals say is the most peaceful and interesting spot in town, its shaded by old mulberry trees.
In the park close by is a bronze larger than life statue of Hoja Nasruddin, a semi mythical ‘wise fool’ who appears in children’s folk tales.

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After a enjoyable hotdog dinner we headed back to the hotel.

Arran had to get his boxes welded today, so we spent the day trying to get photos of the bike by some of these stunning landmarks..

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It proved rather hard at times….

We later caught up with Arran for a cold beer and sat near the famous old Mulberry trees one that had been planted 500 or so years ago, its amazing that they are still alive.

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Dinner was at a fancy restaurant next to lake…
Which was a little disappointing, we should have gone for the hotdog again, it was far nicer and cheaper… (money does not buy decent food!)

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Kids were trying to sell Clive some balloons…

Leaving early the next day, we weren’t looking forward to another hot, sticky ride to the Turkmenistan border…

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