And I Wonder, Yes I Wonder, Who'll Stop the Rain?

Trip Start Oct 11, 2011
Trip End Oct 31, 2011

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Where I stayed
Minzifa Hotel Bukhara
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Uzbekistan  ,
Friday, October 21, 2011

The power flickered on and off, the side streets turned to mud, it was windy, it was cold, it was was Bukhara.  In just three days, they received as much rain as they normally do in a years time. 
Trudging through the mudded side streets and alley ways with my guide, being stopped occasionally by the local children who, in their best English, asked for pennies and coins from Canada for their collections. The four minaret mosque was the start of the first day, being only a short walk from the hotel.  Not long after arriving the rain began to pour and so we hopped into the car and headed for the summer palace of the last Emir of Bukhara.  It was an interesting look into a dynasty not far removed from the modern day.  And the longing for the good old days of an independent Bukhara seemed to linger with the guide as well as the museums and exhibits.  Russian influence in the palace is strongly felt and was the earliest architectural examples of the fallout from "the great game".  After this, we headed to the Bolo Hauz Mosque and then onto the ninth century Mausoleum of the Samanides, an amazing example of early Muslim architecture and influence on the region. 
Lunch provided us with perhaps the best pilaf I have ever tasted and both the guide and Saddardine our driver spend most of the time inquiring about life in Canada.  When I asked if she had ever visited the west, she began to tell be about her studies in New York as her and her husband got their degrees in archeology.  She then lit up with pride as she told me that her youngest son finally quit his role as the family's black sheep and his pursuit in studying economics.  He was now off to London to join his parents and brother in the ranks of Uzbek archaeologists. As the weather began to turn for the worst again and the power was being lost, we took a tour of the Emir's winter palace before deciding to call it an early day.
  With slightly less rain the following day we donned warmer clothes and walked to the Bakhoutdin Nakshbandi’s memorial complex.  From there we headed through the bazaars from complex to complex on our way to the Poi Kalyan, a twelfth century marvel that was almost lost during the Russian invasion.  The Kalyan Minaret, which suffered numerous cannon blows, showed obvious signs of restoration.  As we walked through all the complexes I took advantage of the free translation services to buy up as many souvenirs as my bag could hold.  
After splitting with my guide for the day, I headed back to the first bazaar to buy an old Soviet generals hat, the only thing on my shopping list I had yet to find. After buying the hat, the nineteen year old shop worker asked if she could practice her English on me by asking questions. We spend three hours talking back and forth about view on everything from democracy, God, homosexuality, living forever, and, of course, what would you do with a million dollars.  She was obviously raised very Muslim and was donned in full robe, with all but her face covered. The most interesting point of the conversation came when she asked if i would want to live forever.  After answering in the affirmative and explaining all the things I'd do with eternity, she shrugged and said that the thought of living forever seemed boring.  "But when you die, you hope to go to heaven, yes?" I asked.
"Yes, of course" She replied. 
"And how long will you live in heaven?"
She paused for a moment and smiled, "Maybe there will be more things to do in heaven."
The afternoon ended with another wonderful shashlik dinner, with the usual side of onion, cucumber, tomato and a Sarbast to wash it down.
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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