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Published: October 1st 2017
Geo: 39.6576, 66.9476
After breakfast (which we had in the courtyard this morning), we met our driver and started out of town. We had a long drive to Samarkand, mostly along a straight stretch of highway through towns and agricultural fields. We spent the day spotting what donkeys were carting (a Lada and a cow were our favorites) and generally being very silly. There were three stops: a ceramics factory and a caravansary, then lunch.
The ceramics factory was a small family run operation. We didn't really see any manufacturing in action – a guy painting a dish but that's it. It was fine, and Keegan bought a couple of small dishes. The caravansary still has the large entrance gate and cistern (which must have been repaired) as well as foundations for the walls and cubicles. It was a particularly large one, and we speculated on the function of most rooms. Sue had seen many caravansaries, so she was a good guide. Lunch was at a roadside restaurant, in a large courtyard. The food was excellent, but the loos stank.
Upon arriving Samarkand, we went to the hotel to check in, then we went to the silk rug shop. The girls were just
getting off for the day, and they were doing their make-up rather than knotting rugs. Our guide, who was very funny, showed us how they make knots in eight steps. We browsed – I'm not in the market – then got ready to depart. Our guide said we were welcome to return tomorrow, if the streets were open. I asked why they might not be open, and she said there was a delegation in town and they would close the streets.
We were dropped near the Registan and decided to walk up past it to our hotel. It had turned overcast, but not really cool … still, no direct sun, which was so nice. Along the road, Latvian flags were attached to lampposts, and it suddenly dawned on us that the Latvians must be in town. The steps and plaza around the Registan was being washed down for the Latvian delegation. We could see that the main square was closed, and a policeman told us that it was closed tomorrow. It sounded like it might reopen at 5pm, so we will have to check with our guide. It would be a tragedy if we could not see the entire Registan,
although, as far as I've heard, the square is the most impressive site.
Returning to the hotel, we checked email, then Paul and the kids went out for dinner. I joined them around 9pm, and we walked to the Registan to see if it were lit up (as we could see that they were installing lights up). It was not really lit, which was sad, so we returned to the hotel and had a glass of wine, then went to bed.
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