Monday, November 12, 2007
Bukhara was our favorite Uzbek city. It was more lived in than Khiva, and had a more old town atmosphere than Samarkand.
When it comes to technology, Uzbekistan is the most backward country Tim and I traveled. To make an international phone call, you have to go to the post office and have them connect you the old fashioned way. In addition to being very expensive, you ended up listening to four conversations at once. Internet was dial up, and a poor dial up connection at that. And the currency is hilarious. The largest bill you could get was worth less than a dollar. So, despite the fact that people do not have a lot of money, everyone walks around with giant wads of bills.
When Tim and I went to Central Asia, we expected that the people would be happy to no longer be a part of the Soviet Union. So it was to our surprise that many people talked of Soviet days with fondness. According to these people, it was easier then to get good medical care, as they could go to Moscow. Things were more affordable, as opposed to now when inflation is very high. Other people lamented the splitting of the central Asian people into many different countries. Of course, not everyone agreed with this viewpoint. One business man explained to us that "In Soviet times it was very easy and the people grew very lazy! The government paid for everything." Another man told us that communism was bad because it "sucks everything dry". Democracy was bad because "it's all about money". Of course, one has to keep in mind that Uzbekistan is not exactly a good example of democracy in any way. Tim asked him "well, what would be good?" The answer? "Islam!"
The enclosed courtyard of the women's section in a 19th century wealthy merchants home
Tim and I in 19th century wealthy merchants dress.
It's me under there. If I had wanted to leave the house in the 19th century, this is what I would have worn. It is really heavy-the women must have developed very strong necks!
The Emirs summer palace
Ruined salt and chemical encrusted soil
A few more of the Uzbek people
An old medresa gate in Bukhara
A large Bukhara mosque, medresa, and minaret complex
Tashkent back street