Friday, June 1, 2012


So a great breakfast it was off to Samarkand, a great city that was the heart of trading on the silk road and was the seat of Temur's (Tremalane) empire.
First step was to get fuel easy enough there were petrol stations everywhere. First one um we only have 80 octane, okay I will try another. Next one we only have 80 also. Ok not the best, I'll take 5 litres that should be enough to get me to Samarkand it was only 300ks and the back tanks were pretty full still. So off we went. First check point we get waved over, the cops asked if we spoke Russian, no English only, fine off you go then. What no checks oh okay. That is just fine with me.
So we keep going and the next check point nobody even seems to see us off we go then and the next one the same and the one after that.
So we get a ways down the road and the fuel light comes about 100ks from Samarkand. Mm that is not good and all the petrol stations we had passed in the last 80ks had been closed. This would be fun, time to start praying. A few more closed petrol stations, we were near a large town I stopped and asked a guy on the side of the road "Benzin?" he pointed and there was a sign that said Benzin 200mtrs. Hurrah, we pull into the servo and low and behold the sign on the pump says 91, who knows if it is accurate or if the fuel is crap but some fuel is better than no fuel so fill her up thanks. Again people came from everywhere asking what, where, how etc. Sharon was stuck in the middle of it all while I was paying. Great stuff normally we would feel super unsafe but it was all good the Uzbeks are very nice. That doesn't mean being slack with security, but you just have to take as it comes and we didn't feel threatened.
On the road again and the bike was running okay so the fuel can't have been too bad.
Somewhere along the line at one of the many checkpoints the cops waved at us, thinking we had to stop I pulled over just to be waved on. Okay maybe the cops won't be this good on the way Dushanbe, but hell they are good so far.
So into Samarkand and on the road is a huge MAN truck centre, all the signs are in English and there are brand new trucks everywhere, unbelievable such
a contrast to so much else of the country.
I had the hotel approximately GPSed but the detail of the Google maps was on this occasion greater than that of my GPS so it was a bit of guess. So down this narrow little laneway we head thinking how hard is this going to be to find. Anyway around a corner in amongst all these decaying houses is fantastic hotel. Brilliant! They have a courtyard for the bike and the room is great. It is a short walk to the main sights. Our first night was nice shower and a rest.
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Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugPhoto & Video Sharing by SmugMugPhoto & Video Sharing by SmugMugSo after a nice sleep and a simple breakfast it was off to see some sights. Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug First up was the Amid Temur Mausoleum, here we met a nice young who spoke excellent English and offered to be our guide. We I asked how much he said what ever think is fair. Um okay, that sounds fair maybe a little too fair

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugHe knowledge was excellent as he told about the history of Temur and his family along with the history of building and restoration that had taken place in the mid 90s.

After this it was off to see the Registan the most famous building in Samarkand. This building served as school, mosque and trade centre. Samarkand is located in middle of the great silk road trade route and people came from east and west to exchange goods here.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugOur guide (also named Timur) came with us to give the history. All this in English without notes and he had only been learning English for 6 months, he also spoke Russian, Uzbek and Tadjik and was also learning Japanese, very smart guy.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugPhoto & Video Sharing by SmugMugPhoto & Video Sharing by SmugMugAfter we parted ways and I gave him what seemed to be all to small an amount, it was off to do some banking as I wanted to get some extra cash I had brought $400 US with me but it seemed to be too little so I went to withdraw some more. I knew this would be a little difficult, but we were told the National Bank had an ATM so it was off there. Um they only did Visa I would have to go Asaka Bank, so off we go to Asaka to do the strangest cash withdrawal I have ever done. The ATMs didn't work, I had to do a credit card transaction, give my passport details, sign some forms some stamping, off to a register to get my money took about 20 minutes to get $200 I have to be a little careful as I am not allowed to take out more than I brought in. Painful to say the least.
The next day neither one of was feeling that great so we hung about the hotel and did a little shopping, we had Internet for a very short while so we checked email and let everyone know that things were good.

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