Friday, 23 October 2009

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Uzbekistan 2009

Post-Russian concrete looking on arrival but surprisingly green, and metropolitan.
Samarkand -
Edinburgh equivalent, manageable size, vistas, extraordinary mediaeval architecture.
Qulqishloq -
10,000 population, but where on Google Earth is it? Turn left off the Tashkent highway.
Bukhara -
The most exotic, an oasis city of sand and sandstone.
The countryside -
From the train a dusty, scrubby plateau with vague buildings on the horizon. Looked shabbier than it really is due to the dust, in the Spring would resemble Lincolnshire.
An Emirate in all but name -
5000 "political" prisoners, secret police, torture, massacres (Andijan), Soviet-oldstyle micro-management of movement. However, all despots die eventually and most of the new-build is attractive. YouTube will cure all.
A young population -
Literate, smart youngsters with hardly a headscarf.