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Published: July 11th 2016
July 9 - Got up early and had breakfast. Decided to go to Shakrisabz for a day trip, by myself. I didn't think Geertje planned to come, so I sent her a message telling her I was going. I also sent a message to Richard to see if he'd been yet, since he had planned to go yesterday. I hadn't heard from either by 9:15, so I decided to head out. The share taxis leave from the supermarket near my place, so that was easy. Even better - I was the last of four, so we left when I got there. No waiting around for the car to fill up.
The drive was about two hours, with a stop for gas and some other random things I could not figure out. It seems taxi drivers also do side jobs while taxi-ing you. This guy was dealing with passports, from what I could tell. This time ehen we stopped for gas, we could stay in the car. The drive goes over a mountain pass. Not the most beautiful mountain, but not bad. And it was noticeably cooler there.
When we arrived, the driver asked if I wanted to go back
to Samarkand later. Apparently, there are not many (or any) share taxis that go to Samarkand from there. We agreed on a price and I would meet him about two hours later. In that two hours I wandered around some old sights, including mausoleums, a mosque and an old palace that is mostly destroyed, but had two small parts still standing. The book says you can walk around it for free, but have to pay to go up to the top in the winding staircase. Now you have to pay to walk around and you can't climb up to the top. They said there were renovations, but I saw no evidence. And the locals can cruise through for free. Frustrating. And the sites were spread out over about a kilometer on a new fancy walkway with fountains. But there is no shade, and it was so hot again. The fountains almost feel mean, with all that water you can't drink. The public bathroom was closed so I had to use the mosque's bathroom. I was surprised I was allowed to, but so thankful. On the way out, a woman showed me where a crypt was. It was listed in the
book, but the location was unclear. Good to get a chance to go underground and see it. A bit cooler there.
I met the driver at 1pm and off we went. Well, as far as the next town, where we would pick up more people to go to Samarkand. We had to wait an hour so for that to happen. So boring. I was just sitting in the shade, eating some three day old bread for lunch. Eventually he found some other people, and of course, I ended up in the back in the middle again. But at least it kept me out of the sun. After some crazy driving, some random stops and two hours, we made it back to the supermarket. I bought some water and they were supposed to give me back 200 som for change. But they rarely have anything less than 1000, so they give you little candies instead. So weird.
(see Samarkand for the rest of the day)
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