Leaving town, crossing the Amu Darya river Brandt slips twice. Line up for border crossing, truckers having passed us days before applaud our precession. Visa problems ignite Al and Brandt. Al gets flat at lunch. Shit hole hotel makes us leave by 8 am. Raisa Gareeva rescues us and puts us up in her a/c apartment.
The market in Buchara. Plenty of food volume and variety, unlike the standard Soviet store which stocked about 10 items, 4 of which were edible.
Raisa's 17 year old son, Marcel gives us a catatonic city tour. Sit drinking bottomless cay at Labykhaus, with children jumping off gnarled, ancient trees into the stagnant cesspool
Crank problems leaving town. I break the 32 mm wrench removing BB. Uzbeks shout annoyingly from storefronts. Lunch in empty mud team. Rain pours, we sleep. No Brandt or Nathan, they bus it.
Riding quickly, no lagging riders. Farmers pass as we eat breakfast in a grassy pasture. First mountain views since Ascabat. Scenery changes to brown, grassy hills. Pull into empty bazaar for afternoon nap. Into town having ice cream a man recognizes us as friends of B & N and escorts us to house of Yuri Fyodorov
The ancient city of Samarkand.
Lunch with the restoration construction workers at Bibi Khaum. Pork kebabs with soldiers at streetside khana.
Dry, hot mountains through a river valley. Lunch at roadside khana where we abuse female service staff. Camp in field next to dry irrigation flume
Night in the bank manager’s office hosted be Alexi, Boris, and the good looking silent guy smoking 3 sum “Astra” cigarettes. Check in to Turon hotel recommended by German backpackers July 2-4 Nathan blows out.
(Nathan’s note: Tashkent was one of my fonder memories of the trip, thanks mainly to the hospitality of the Peace Corps people there. Say hi to Norma for me if you go.)
Morning hills and a nap in a shaded park across from the market. Freshly paved asphalt frustrates efforts before lunch. Clean bikes with gasoline while waiting for Brandt.
Morning climb up 19 km of switchbacks. Lunch at roadside khana at peak. 40 km downhill to Pap and China tour hats. “I try not to eat beef anymore…except when I want to.”