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September 7th 2015
Published: September 8th 2015
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The dreaded border crossing turned out to not be at all dreadful - it was fast and easy, the border guards were friendly, and the personal inspection didn't involve anything more than a quick frisk. It once again showed us that every experience is individual and unique.

The road to Samarkand took us past field after field of cotton, one of Uzbekistan's main agricultural crops but also one of the main causes of the shrinking of the Aral Sea. It's mind blowing to know that most of the billions of cubic metres of water we day after day saw roaring down the Panj River between Tajikistan and Afghanistan don't make it as far as the Aral Sea. Finding solutions that balance the various needs is difficult and it's a sensitive subject here, supposedly one of the few topics that the government censors on the internet. So I'll leave it alone, but I can't help feeling there has to be a better way.

Uzbekistan is significantly wealthier than Tajikistan and it shows - better buildings, better roads and cars, a railway system, public transport systems with timetables, some industry, and people with more disposable income to spend on fashionable clothes and accessories.

The historical sights of Samarkand are dazzling, sometimes a little too much so, but generally the renovations and restorations have been done to the right level – at least in our expert opinion, and that is what matters to us. So lots of photo's again with this post.

A journey on the Sharq train to Bukhara awaits us tomorrow.

Additional photos below
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~4500 Uzbekistani som to the US$, the highest value note is 5000 som !!!

Did a good job of fixing the shoe I managed to rip open.

8th September 2015
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Interesting that most people who visit Uzbekistan...
get a picture of a fist full of som!
9th September 2015
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and I thought I was the 1st 😀

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