The Road to Samarkand

We traveled to Samarakand today, a five hour trip, made a bit longer, not only because of the poor condition of the road whch actually wasn't as bad as the road we traveled to Bukhara but because the shocks on the bus had worn out and we smelled like we were burning rubber. However there was no place to stop so we limped into Samarkand.

Unlike Kiva and Bukhara, Samarkand does not have an old city that has been turned into a museum with hotels, restaurants and street merchants alongside age old mosques and madrasas (schools). Instead the major sites are scattered throughout the city of Samarkand. So this time our hotel is not located in the center of old town but on the outskirts of the city.

Like the other two hotels in Uzbekistan, it is small and our group of 9 takes up most of the rooms. Carol's and my room is on the second floor and it's nice to have a tour company in charge of carrying up our bags. Our room is fairly roomy but the bathroom is quite small. We pretty much take turns using the shower, etc. The room looks out on the main street and across at its newly acquired extension which houses a spa and exercise room. The view is not at all as nice as out rooms in both Bukhara and Khiva where we looked over a courtyard and beyond at the Mosques and market square. But all three hotels have been charming and the people who work in them friendly and anxious to help.

Our hotel in Bukhara was up a small alley and, from the outside, simply looked like an old building, but once inside it was charming, built around a courtyard so when we opened the door to our room we could see the courtyard below. We ate our dinner the first night there, in the open courtyard. It was lovely and made up for some bad plumbing problems we encountered later.
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This evening we visited the workshop of a silk rug maker. The father, age 93, has traveled around the United States,speaking about making rugs from natural dyes, at such places as Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania's museum.His son, who demonstrated silk rug weaving to us, had attended medical school in Arizona but returned to Samarkand to help run the business.

The rugs run from $300 to $120,000. None of us purchased any.

We ate a marvelous dinner (stew, pumpkin squash, eggplant, bean soup), served buffet style at the rug place. We've been having a wide variety of pumpkin dishes that are sweet and range from soups to mashed, Eeggplant is served at almost every meal in one form or another.

Another full day.

Filed under: Uzbekistan

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  • Hi Professor,
    I have really enjoyed reading your travels. Sounds like very interesting places to visit. When will you be returning? Also, I hope that you have had an opportunity to read my blogs (Mean Streets of Englewood).

  • In reply to Ken Jones:

    hi Ken
    I'll be back the night of October 10 and in class the following Monday. I still can't get onto Wordpress so I will read everybody's blogs after I return.
    Prof Boiarsky

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    Carolyn Boiarsky

    " I am an American," but not "Chicago born" like Augie March. Only Chicago aged. I'd like to think that if Henry Louis Gates were to investigate my geneology, he would discover in my past three women who traveled around the globe, chronicling their adventures. Sarah Kemble Knight traveled 112 miles by carriage from Boston to New York in 1704, a journey most women did not embark on alone (and men did so only with some trepidation). In fact, women were only just beginning to exercise their independence in the 1920's when Emily Kimbrough took off with her friend, Cornelia Otis Skinner, to explore Europe. But it is Auntie Mame, transforming herself from a New Yorker to the wife of an Austrian Baron and climbing the Matterhorn, whose mantra I have adopted. "LIFE IS A BANQUET...LIVE!" I began travelling in the 1960's when I traveled around western Europe between graduating from the Univiersity of Pennsylvania and my first job as a statehouse correspondent for UPI (United Press International) in Charleston, West Virginia, which was about as foreign a place as Europe was to someone who grew up in the environs of Philadelphia. Since then, I've also travelled to Kaunas, Lithuania, to teach at Vytautus Magnus University and to Sheffield, England, to present a paper at an engineering conference. I've been to the Alps and seen Auntie Mame's Matterhorn while climbing, by a series of cable cars rather than by foot, toward the peak of Mont Blanc. For the past 10 years my husband and I have been traveling to unique places: a sheep farm during lambing season in England's Lake Country, a hotel on one of the Barromeo Islands in the middle of Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy, and a cottage in Dun Quin on the Dingle Peninsula which the Irish claim is the last parish before Boston. Between excursions, I'm a professor in the Department of English at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Indiana,. My husband passed away recently and, Auntie Mame-style, I am in the process of transforming myself. Last year I joined a tour to Central Asia. This year I'm going to China to work with the pandas. A new adventure. Another banquet.

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