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The 5-stans of the Middle East

 
 
Reply Tue 6 May, 2008 04:06 pm
I'm off to the Middle East on Thursday, May 8, 2008, for 17-discovery filled days. I'll be certain to take over 1,000 photos of the sites with many from the trails of the Silk Road. It's a Road Scholar program, and we'll have 19 in our group. My roommate is a fellow from Florida I met on our Israel trip two years ago. This will add five new countries for my Century Club list.

Packing for this trip is not easy, because the climate can be cool in the low 60s, or in the high 90s. With luggage restrictions getting tough on extra weight and/or pieces, it's a challenge, but I'm taking two cameras just in case.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 15,839 • Replies: 97
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quinn1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 May, 2008 04:09 pm
ci will be happy to see the photos as per usual!

Easy Travels to you & Enjoy!
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 May, 2008 05:44 am
Hello from Bishkek. This part of the Silk Road is pretty well developed; many remains from the Russian period still influence the architecture and artworks. The people are friendly, and the idea that American travelers would be in danger of violence is not realistic; no more so than any large "third world" country.

I was sick yesterday with some unknown 24-hour illness, but lucky for me, we have a physician in our group who provided me with medical advise and some meds. I took it easy today, and refrained from going to the national park after lunch, but three others also skipped it.

Many handsome looking people in this part of the world; Eurasian faces are common here.

I'll try to bahave myself from this day forward; stay healthy, and make every effort to keep good notes of the sites we visit, with my reflections for them.

Until the next time, I'll say sayonara.
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quinn1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 May, 2008 10:04 am
HI CI - nice to hear from you while you are away.

Sorry to hear you didn't feel well but, glad to hear it's better and you can be of and running again.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2008 06:06 am
We are now in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. The majority in our group went to visit a carpet factory, but I'm not interested in buying another carpet, so stayed behind at the hotel.

We visited Tajikistan this morning just for a few hours to visit the archaeological site and a bazaar; it was one of the most expensive foreign country visit in all my travels. The VISA cost $192, and we spent literally only about three hours there.

More later; this computer is very slow, and I wanted to write my wife an email.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 May, 2008 04:08 am
A short "hello" from Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Much fascinating history in this party of the world, not only because of the Silk Road, but because there is so much more history including Genghis Kahn, Alexander the Great, Marco Polo, and Japan.

I worried a little that my Asian face would stick out like a sore thumb in this part of the world, and some 50-percent of the people have Asian faces!

It's not only safe here, but most of the places we have visited are very clean, and the people polite; young people stand up for elders in busses and trains.

Many of the children say "hello" to us, and most are smiling.

A lady we met today comes here almost every year and spends four months in Bukhara. She's from VA.

Will post another report if we find internet cafes at our other destinations.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2008 08:54 pm
A short, last, note from Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. We're on the last leg of our journey in Central Asia. It's been a great experience with a good group of travel companions. Today is our visit to the best museum in Central Asia. Two more nites, and we're on our way home, but we're leaving here at 1:30AM for our flt to Frankfurt. UGH. Later. c.i.
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2008 08:55 pm
Ah -- there you are!!! I'd missed this thread up 'til now, ci. Enjoy the rest of your trip -- we'll look forward to stories and pics when you get back.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2008 09:43 pm
bm
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 May, 2008 11:41 am
EDITED June 1, 2008:

Finally arrived home yesterday after 2PM. However, our home is still under major renovation, and living out of boxes with no computer access except at the public library (where I'm posting from).

Please be patient; I'll try to get my computer up and running within the week - or two.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jun, 2008 11:04 am
I've now completed my first draft of the travelogue, but still do not have the ability to download my pictures.

I was wondering if it would be okay to post the travelogue without pictures for now, and post the pictures at a later date?

What do you think?
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jun, 2008 11:18 am
Of course it would be okay, C.I. We're looking forward to both.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jun, 2008 12:36 pm
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 03:33 pm
I have my computer in the repair shop, and if all goes well, should be able to download pictures by tomorrow evening. If that goes well, I can transfer the picrtures to my laptop and post the pictures here - from a photo-share site; photobucket.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 09:34 pm
Okay, I'm now back on my desktop computer, and also have access to the internet through another wireless system. Going to download my pictures, and probably begin posting them tomorrow.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 09:52 pm
Thanks for the reports, ci - waiting for the photos now (but take it easy!).
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 11:35 pm
I've spent the last few hours downloading and editing some of the over 2,000 photos I took on this journey. However, this is the picture that is the title of our travels through Central Asia. This is only a "teaser," and I will be posting more photos tomorrow.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/CentralAsiaxDMay20081124.jpg
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2008 11:33 am
CI,

JM & I saw an Anthony Bourdain episode filmed in Uzbekistan, and the thing that struck me the most was the widespread consumption of vodka, beer, and other forms of alcohol. Any ideas how that's possible in a muslim country, and is Uzbekistan unique that way or did you run across alcohol elsewhere in your trip?
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2008 11:47 am
yitwail, Alcoholic beverage is prevalent in Central Asia; vodka is the cheapest of all the beverages at about US$1.50 - even in restaurants. We had a restauranteur from North Carolina who consumed 3-5 glasses of vodka with almost every meal, and he was spared whatever ailed some of us with diarrhea, vomiting, and headaches. All the local beers were good, but some of the local wines were terrible.

Although many of the Central Asian countries religion are Muslim-Islam, most are secular, and some have laws against public promotion of any religion including Islam. Some women wear burkas, but most do not.
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Francis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2008 11:48 am
About Uzbekistan, I hope you gonna tell more and show pictures of Samarkand...
0 Replies
 
 

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