Friday, July 29, 2011

Uzbekistan: The Final Day

As it turns out, my crumby day yesterday did not last even one full day.

After my post, i returned to my hotel, the Gulnara Guesthouse. It is on the edge of the old town near the bustling Chorsu market. I cannot comment on the rooms, because, as i mentioned, my reservation was screwed up and the only room they had for me wasn't really a room, just a cot and electric fan, but i must say that i am quite happy with the accomdations. The owners are friendly and the rooms are all located around a pleasant courtyard with a huge apple tree and laundry strung up everywhere. It is definitely a backpackers' place, with everyone there being young and traveling with large backpacks or by bicycle. Almost everyone there seems to be French, although the Japanese girl i met in Samarkand (and saw again in Bukhara) is staying there as well.

Anyway, after my post, i went to my room and spent about 4 hours napping and listening to repeats of Bill Maher and Ricky Gervais podcasts on my ipod, which cheered me up immensely. After that, i went for an evening walk and had tea and a cigar on a busy corner, where i was joined by some Uzbek construction worker with some basic English skills. He said he had only seen cigars "in films". He asked to buy one from me but i had only one left, so i didn't sell.

All in all, it was a pleasant end to what started out as a crumby day.

This morning, after breakfast, i walked up to the Khast Imom, which is the holiest part of Tashkent. It is a collections of newish mosques and mausoleums and a small museum that houses a massive and old copy of the Koran. Surrounding the buildings were some very well manicured park areas, which were also home to many large stork-like birds (like storks, but bigger and with more intimidating beaks).

I then walked past many large and largely unattractive apartment blocks to Navoi Park, which is a big park containing some odd Soviet structures and a man made lake with beach areas, little paddle boats and small fair area with rides. i wandered there for a while and had some ice-cream-like frozen substance. I have on this trip mastered the pronunciation of the Russian word for ice cream, which had previously eluded me.

Now i am just sort of pleasantly killing time. My flight is at 9:00pm, but i plan to get there nice and early, as i could not check in on-line. I plan to stroll through the market again, see if i can spend my remaining Sum and then i will probably just hang around in the courtyard of my hotel and smoke my final cigar.

I may post again either from Tashkent or Seoul, internet access permitting.

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