48 degrees and rising

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July 14th 2008
Published: July 26th 2008
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I'm glad I prefer the heat to the cold, as it's boiling here!!! It's dry heat though, so I'm not actually feeling it that much, but a couple of people in my group are struggling. I am now travelling with 1 Canadian, 2 Irish and a fellow Aussie. The combination of all our different accents and slang is amusing us, although confusing our tour guide at times!

After leaving the capital, we flew to Urgrench a small agricultural town in the North West region and then made our way to Khiva, a captivating ancient city. Now I'm not very good at remembering history, it kind of goes in one ear and out the other, so if you want to learn more about the rich history it's probably wiser to do some research! Although legend has it that it was founded when Shem, the son of Noah discovered a well during his travels here. The city is now split into two - inside and outside the city walls. The historic centre is preserved in its entirety and is densely packed with mosques, medressas, palaces and tombs. This was our first taste of the beautiful architecture in Uzebekistan, with all the turquoise

a boy slurps on a red cordial like drink @ the bazaar in Khiva
and colbalt blue coloured mosaics.

Last night we had our first experience camping in a yurt which is a traditional nomadic tent made from felt. The campsite was in the middle of the Kyzyl Kum (Red Sands) Desert, near the ruins of an old fortress. The yurts are very impressive and shows how resourceful nomads can be. Normally yurts are divided up into separate sections for cooking, sleeping, male and female etc but the camp that we stayed at had several yurts so we had 1 big one for each! When it's 48 degrees there really isn't much to do accept sit around and try and stay cool. So Tyson (the Aussie) and I decided to beat the heat and walked 4km to where a "lake" was to cool off. I figured after walking 9km around the base of Uluru in 40 degree heat I could do this...Suprisingly the walk wasn't too bad, and we actually didn't feel any hotter for walking in the sun than sitting at the camp site. Unfortunately the lake was not all that it hyped up to be. It smelt rank, the water was murky and it looked like there was a lot of bird poo in it! Nevertheless, that didn't stop our desperation of wanting to cool off, so in we went! I would never have done anything like this at home, but I was doing as one does when in Rome...The top of the water was almost as hot as a bath, but once we kicked around a bit, we enjoyed the cool water underneath.

Unfortunately the fridge at the campsite was just for show as the water we were given felt more like it had been sitting in the sun for a day! So we ended up drinking hot tea instead, which at least was the temperature that it should be! ha. By dinner time, we had had enough of the hot water, so went straight for the vodka instead! This is where the Russian influence is evident, as there is an abundant supply of vodka, although the quality leaves a lot to be argued for! The first shot tasted like we were drinking metholated spirits but by the 3rd, it was going down very smoothly! The night ended after drowning 2 litres of vodka between the 6 of us - with no mixers might I add, listening
the living room the living room the living room

inside a local's home. colourful tapestry is the norm. i love the old tv set.
to some Gailic music and finally with some French travellers asking us to quieten down because they were trying to sleep. It felt like we were at school camp and being told off by the teachers! But with the warm desert breeze and a few shots of vodka in me, I was happy to retire to my comfortable mattress in the yurt and I don't think I've ever fallen asleep so quickly in my life! The last thing I remember was actually sliding into my sleeping sheet, not even putting my head onto the pillow!

Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16


view of Mosques and Medressas view of Mosques and Medressas
view of Mosques and Medressas

inside the city walls
watermelons aplenty watermelons aplenty
watermelons aplenty

the most common and omnipresent fruit in the region
baking bread baking bread
baking bread

this thin, flat, crispy bread baked with onions is this region's speciality
evening up the tanevening up the tan
evening up the tan

a local man enjoys the afternoon sunshine

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