After Bukhara, we traveled to Samarkand, by way of Shahrisabz, the birthplace of of Tamerlane.
I enjoyed seeing Tamerlane's palace there, but it did add quite a bit of time to our travel from Bukhara to Samarkand--time spent traveling on a hot day over bumpy roads in large sections. By the time we rolled in to Samarkand, it was close to dinner time.
One of our friends was really craving pizza, so we decided to try for that for dinner. It was...interesting. It had the potential to be good, with a very nice crust and good cheese. However, the sauce was sweet, and they used dill to season it. Two of our friends on the trip absolutely loathe dill, and I think finding dill on pizza was a sort of low point of the trip for them, especially since we saw plenty of basil growing in the area. After dinner, some of us took an evening walk. Samarkand was a conspicuously larger city than Khiva or Bukhara. Amid various old monuments, there were some newer innovations like colorful, musical fountains.
We got an early start the next morning to go to the nearby town of Urgut, which has a bazaar famous for traditional textiles. As we headed out of Samarkand, the roads quickly become bumpy. Our driver merrily swerved about, avoiding both potholes and old men who had randomly stopped their cars in the middle of the road. I started to feel sick. I thought motion sickness was the most likely culprit, so I took a Bonine and hoped I would feel better.
As time went on, I felt worse. As we got closer to the bazaar, our tour guide learned that the bazaar was closed that day. She knew of a man who was selling a trove of traditional textiles out of his home. The driver pulled over and stopped the minibus so our guide could try to contact this person. The scenery was beautiful, and I felt a little better getting out of the minibus.
Our guide got ahold of the man who was selling textiles, and we got back into the minibus. I eventually felt so awful that the driver had to pull over and stop the minibus. Our tour guide got out and offered me an anti-nausea pill. Ordinarily, I don't like to take any kind of medicine without knowing exactly what it is and reading about it (I blame this tendency on several summers of working in a pharmacy). However, I was desperate. Unfortunately, the pill was large, quick to dissolve, and awful tasting. Just tasting it made me feel worse, and I had to spit it out. The tour guide, Scott, and I ultimately walked the last quarter of a mile or so to the house of the man with the textiles.
I was feeling pretty woozy at the house, but I enjoyed seeing the textiles, and ultimately bought a small traditional embroidery that I was told would have been used as a window covering. Then I sat outside and drank tea. One of our friends had a smaller, more user friendly anti-nausea pill for me to try. I took it, and felt pretty confident about the trip back to Samarkand.
|Garden at the house we visited.|
|The man with the textile collection modeling a traditional robe.|
I changed locations, and the driver proceeded on, driving much more slowly and with less dramatic swerving. I will be forever grateful to him because I know that driving slowly went against every fiber of his being. Also, how many people would invite someone on the verge of throwing up to sit next to them while they're driving? When I finally (and regretfully) broke my twelve year non-vomit streak, the driver silently rolled down the window and stayed calm.
Under any other circumstances, I would have loved what we had for lunch that day--doesn't it look great? It takes a lot for me to forgo food. I did eat a little plain bread.
Our plan for the afternoon was a fairly lengthy rest in the hotel during the hottest part of the day, followed by sightseeing. I was determined to go out and see things, so I took a nap during our rest and then headed out.
We saw the Gur-e-Emir mausoleum, which has the tomb of Tamerlane and some of his sons and grandsons.
We saw the Registan, which was the heart of ancient Samarkand, from the outside. Some group (a dance troupe, maybe?) was practicing inside, thereby preventing anyone else from going in.
We saw the Bibi Khanum mosque, which was named after Tamerlane's wife.