Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Old Town

One thing that is odd about Samarkand is that because of their vast tourism, apparently, they have really cleaned up the areas around the Registan. It doesn't feel western, but it definitely feel new and tidy and organized. But i had heard that there was an old town worth exploring...if you can find it. What the city bofficials have done is built walls around the old parts of the city where the people actually live, so that tourists can be spared seeing the poverty.

I walked up and down this one street for quite a while, watching. I finally saw kids with modified prams stacked high with non (bread) coming out of a door in the wall. I stepped through and it was a different world.

Unpaved, uneven streets tangled together and lined with broken and haphazard dwellings. Kids walking around with non on their heads or carrying buckets of water. Corner stores guarded by odd looking chickens, broken windows, watermelon rinds and once beautiful mosques that have fallen into disrepair.
It is really wonderful. All of the kids were very friendly and wanted me to take their picture. As i was walking past one house, i was beckoned inside to watch how they make the round, golden non by sticking it to the ceiling of a wood burning oven.

It all felt quite authentic and was preferable to the more sanitized Samarkand that the city has put on display.

A note about the bread. I had last said that i didn't care for it, but i must issue a retraction. There are various versions and, while i didn't like the first one i tried, i have found another which is magnificent. It has the consistency of dinner rolls fresh from the oven, but with a slightly chewier texture. It's very good indeed.
me with bread (non)

And they must bake thousands of them everyday. All day long, kids are schlepping the bread from the old town to the market, by pram, wheel barrow, and bicycle. The entire old city smells of baking bread.
I don't how they can possibly consume them all (although this may help to explain the hearty girth of most of the women here).


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Mmmmmmm....I love bread. That might explain my hearty girth:)

Glad you're having fun!