Samarkand is amazing. It is a bit like Luxor, in the sense that it is just bursting with impossibly large, old and jaw droppingly beautiful monuments and mausoleums.
Obviously, the first place i had to go was the Registan. This is really the whole reason i am here, to see this collection of mosques and medrassas. It did not disappoint.
The buildings are enormous, and yet ever inch of them is covered with intricate designes in tiny tiles. The blue domes are radiant and astonishing. It is on par with the most impressive buildings i have ever seen.
I explored its nooks and crannies and then went on to visit the many other sites of interest. (I won't list them all, but they are all equally amazing.)
The market here is a good one; similar to but better than the one in Tashkent. I bought fruit and surveyed possible souvenirs.
It is really hot here. It feels much hotter than Tashkent. The landscape is very deserty. On the train ride here, i watched as the land went from green and fertile to dusty and brown, with the odd, irrigated plot of land growing corn or green...something. It is definitely much more rural out here. People riding donkeys and tending to flocks of goats.
On my first evening here, i spent it handing out with Furkat at the hotel. We drank tea and ate bread and tomatos and cucumbers. I smoked a cigar. He told me does not smoke or drink, but then, minutes later he offered me cognac from a black bottle with cyrillic writing. "It is from Moldova," he told me with what seemed like pride. We each had a glass of the vile liquor and i went to bed.
I have only met a couple of other travelers here. I met a couple from Colorado who have been on the road for one year. Staying at my hotel are two japanese girls, each traveling solo, with whom I shared breakfast and as many stories as were possible given their limited English and my non-existent Japanese. It is nice to see other, solo female travelers.
It is so hot here that during the late afternoon, i retire to my room to enjoy the AC and have a nap, leaving me free for night time wanderings.