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Published: November 27th 2021
Mighty Conqueror...Timur the lame
I discovered Tamburlaine during uni swat vacs...'cos I was not a diligent student.
I'd head into the Hunter Valley to the wineries as you do.
That's how a love for the red wine of Tamburlaine grew...the vineyard that is.
On their bottles his image...an emperor on horseback.
On old maps was 'the Jewel of the Old Silk Road'...Samarkand...the capital of the 14th C Empire of Tamburlaine.
In 2017 Denise & I discovered the Stans on a roadtrip following the northern border of Afghanistan in Tajikistan with Dave & Merry Jo Binkley and The Travel Camel...ascending into Heaven in the High Pamir.
In 2019 once bitten twice shy we planned to return to the Stans...to the land of Tamburlaine...Uzbekistan.
We added Turkmenistan to our itinerary but their rugs were too expensive so we headed to Russia instead.
Booked our Russia trip with return flights to Australia included.
With return flights included in the Russian trip cost kinda made sense to stretch our return to fit in two weeks in Uzbekistan and make the return flight from Moscow to Sydney as late as possible.
For Uzbekistan we arranged a private tour with a
local Uzbek company...GLOBAL CONNECT...had input into the itinerary....booked some hostels and hotels ourselves as we like to mix with locals...could not have worked out better as it turned out.
Lucky to obtain 'double entry' visas to Russia allowing Russian rivers then Uzbekistan...requiring us to return to Moscow via a different airport as our departure (thus not a transit stop) but in sufficient time for our return flight to Australia that was due to depart Moscow 5 minutes before our Russian visas expire!
There are strict maximum time limits for Russian visas. If we overstayed we were warned we may be detained at Putin's pleasure.
No hint then of the 'terror' we would endure on our return to Moscow...but that's my previous story.
Now its time to wind back the clock to the beginning.
****** You'll know my name before I go
Our departure from Moscow for Uzbekistan was full of expectation.
Been to rock carvings of camel trains at the start of the Silk Road in Xian, China...followed the Silk Road through Xianxxi and Gansu Provinces in NW China...then through the Land of the Songdian in Tajikistan to
Celebrating my birthday
Kyrgyzstan...now heading to the Jewel of the Old Silk Road in Uzbekistan.
Who wouldn't be excited?
Andrew the Russian with no English is our transfer to VKO...an outer Airport in Moscow...through leafy suburbs...forests...then expressways again and into VKO...through the terminals...then out again...up the expressways we had just come down.
Drove past our outgoing flight terminal gate and back towards the start...that's a first!!!
After about 10kms finds a loop and back to VKO we go...without a word unloads us...pay him and he's off again!
Uzbekistan Airways seats are pretty tight...over deserts, water, green fields and descend into Tashkent.
A sign "David & Denise"...a smile...Murod our driver in Tashkent...a friendly face we would get to know well...off to the Lotte Hotel overlooking the Bolshoi Ballet...past many modern buildings...this looks like a wealthy country.
And there we meet Kamila.
About 7pm we choose to go to dinner on the rooftop...draught beer for me, white wine for Denise, lamb & chicken shashliks to share from a massive earthen oven.
Then we heard it...the voice of an angel ringing out...the most beautiful singing voice imaginable...a stunning beauty as well.
Kamila is a violinist at
the Conservatory of Music in Tashkent...part of the Omnibus Ensemble...a group of contemporary musicians who also seek to play with local musicians with traditional instruments on a project called "Playing Together".
Her hobby she says is singing in restaurants as she's gotta earn an income.
She'd win "The Voice" hands down if she came to Oz.
Success we find is often dependent on which country you live.
On 26 April 1966 Tashkent was smashed by an earthquake with its epicentre in central Tashkent killing between 15 and 200 people and leaving 300,000 homeless. Much of the city was destroyed.
But it rose from the ashes not by a miracle...but thanks in part to Leonard Breschnev...the then President of Russia.
Breschnev arranged for all the Soviet bloc countries to send their best engineering and building experts to Tashkent...rebuilding the city in three years...at no cost to the Uzbeks...yep...no cost.
Reminds me how Armenia only exists after the Armenian Genocide thanks to the Russians The ARMENIAN GENOCIDE...when the end becomes the beginning
Can't recall any Cold War Western news ever casting the Russians as heroes.
In the cases of the present day existence of Armenia and the rebuilding
of Tashkent they clearly were.
Yet sometimes their input was truly disastrous...drained the Aral Sea in the thirst for cotton production...now a desert wasteland.
But in the rebuilding of Tashkent their contribution was truly inspiring.
What a beautiful city...stunning turquoise domed mosques and madrassas...a railway metro that challenges Moscow Metro for stunning beauty...even a nuclear bomb shelter...magnificent.
We start with the Monument of Courage...a park dedicated to the 1966 earthquake...a bronze statue of a woman holding a child with her hand held forward to protect the child...the man protecting them with his chest.
A metal collage in honour of the workers from the Soviet Republics who rebuilt the city.
Now for me to resume my quest...to search for Tamburlaine.
Join me as we meet the locals...the Faces of Uzbekistan.
Join us as we do what we seek to behest...discovering the sights, sounds, ambience and aromas of this fascinating country.
Ah...the Faces...the joy of travel is the people we meet.
Relax & Enjoy,
UZ Travel Contact Anwar Karimov at GLOBAL CONNECT firstname.lastname@example.org Website https://globalconnect.uz
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