After hours of useless bureaucracy and searches to get out of Turkmenistan, we got to Uzbekistan, my primary reason to take this trip. Crossing the border led to an amazing change. All of a sudden there were people along the road, farmers working their fields, kids on bicycles, and lots of traffic, much of it donkey carts hauling produce. Uzbekistan is much poorer than Turkmenistan, but the people seem much happier.
We got to Khiva, one of the main Silk Road cities, fairly late. Much of the town is contained inside the old wall. Some things have been rebuilt, but lots of old mud brick houses are still occupied, and many have deteriorated into piles of rubble. Khiva has a huge open air market with lots of food and just about any thing else you might really need. There are some tourists here, but not as many as we will see in the next few days.
Money in Uzbekistan is fun to deal with. The largest readily available bill is 1000 Soms, and is worth about 40¢. You carry around a big stack of bills and peel of a bunch to buy something. The locasls are really adept at counting bills.
Bukhara and Samarkand are next. The weather forecast for the next few days is only 90's or less. What a relief.
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