Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The road from Bukhara to Khiva is bumpy

Ah the joy of travel. A long hot day. 480kms over some of the worst roads yet. Dehydration headache to start the day. I've eaten all my trucksnacks and my tummy is rumbling. But one of the drivers has taken off his shirt and is lit up in the sunlight. How could a girl fail to be content with such a view?

I read A Carpet Ride to Khiva today, and I am looking forward to exploring the town tomorrow.

There are mumbles of discontent from further back in the truck. People want to stop for cold drinks, the drivers want to press on, we are 50kms from Khiva.

I feel like I have experienced Uzbekistan in the same way I photographed the mausoleums and minarets in Samarkand, catching bits of the patterns.

Maybe because it is hot, I have only fragments, not whole pictures:

Eating homemade pizza with my fingers. Envying slippery brown boys playing in the fountains in the heat of the day. Sharing ice-cream in the cool dark of the full moon.

Smiling at golden toothed women. Flirting gently with a painter in the bazaar in Bukhara, scolding him and threatening him with an imaginary husband when he told me on Chinese that he loved me. Hearing him still laughing three blocks away.

Searching, without luck, for US dollars or an ATM that worked. Seeing knitting patterns and quilt patterns in every new minaret and mosque. Waving to enthusiastic children in villages. Seeing fields of cotton as waterlogged as rice paddies. 

Haybales piled on the rooves of houses. Madrassas still and expectant in the morning, still and heavy in the afternoon. Bored sellers of yet more embroidered cloth and scissors shaped like birds. Cats following their women with devotion brought by worship and frequent meals.

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