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Thursday, March 31, 2016


After visiting Samarkand, we visited Bukhara.  Instead of being nestled up against the mountains, Bukhara is on a flat, flat plain west of Samarkand.  Our initial reaction to Bukhara, after visiting green and (relatively) well-kept Samarkand, was disappointing.  

And it degraded to downright worried when we, as the last in a seven-car caravan, stopped in the middle of a narrow alley surrounded by crumbling brick buildings.  I had flashbacks to driving in Baku as we wound our way through very narrow streets to find a parking space (what are these parking lot things that everyone talks of in America?) so that we could check in to our hotel.  

When we made it to our hotel, and the building sharing a wall with it was actually a pile of rubble, we were even more dubious.  But, much to the CLOs' relief, the hotel turned out to be a very picturesque hotel arranged in a series of courtyards and decorated in traditional style.  Sure, we couldn't flush our toilet paper, but that's the cost of charm.

Bukhara has a much more defined (and walkable) old city than Samarkand, so we had a nice time walking and seeing the old city.  The children, who had spent five hours in the car, had had enough of tours by the end of our walking tour and decided that really, the best thing to do inside a historic old mosque was play 'airplane.'  As I mentioned earlier, historical sites are wasted on the young.

The next day we saw a few sites, including the last emir of Bukhara's summer palace, a fortress, and a mausoleum, and after lunch called sightseeing a day and got down to the real purpose of the trip: shopping.

Eleanor was sick with a fever, so Brandon bravely volunteered to stay at the hotel with the boys while Kathleen, Sophia, and I did some souvenir shopping.  We picked up a few gifts and mementoes and finished with a nice Persian miniature and declared ourselves shopped out, bravely resisting the very tempting impulse to go rug shopping.  We only have three, and you can always use more rugs, right?  I'm still a little sad about my resistance.

And then the next morning our fun was over, with everyone in the cars by seven to make the twelve-hour trip back to Dushanbe.  I think that I'm just getting inured to travel because twelve hours in a car seems like a cakewalk compared to thirty hours in a plane and airports.  

When we asked the children how they liked the trip, the responses ranged from "I hated it!" from Edwin to, "Well... the bus was fun," from Kathleen.  Brandon was equally balanced between the stress of wrassling the children for five days and seeing important silk road cities he's wanted to see for over half his life.  I, who am always happy for a change of scene and pace and not cooking, enjoyed everything immensely.  Eleanor had no comment.  One out of seven isn't bad, right?

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