We found rock star parking in front of one of the Medressas and we wandered around the old bazaars and alleyways. It was very hot and everyone was sticking to the shade. We had a coffee and cake in one of the cafes and wandered around admiring the minarets and mosques. The photos will not do it justice. We enjoyed hanging in the shade and just relaxing a little
We left Bukhara about 12.30pm. We were tooting down the road when what did we see? Another team of the Mongol Rally! Bruce stood on the brakes and pulled over to see if they were okay and just to chat with another team. This is where we met Chris & Kerry from Team Wong Way Round on the road to Samarkand. We had a good chat and headed out again on our way to Samarkand. Chris and Kerry wanted to push towards Tashkent which was much farther away since they have an even tighter schedule than ours. They leave Ulaan Bataar on the 21st of August. Yikes!
We all started driving and since Chris and Kerry were in a little car they sped right past the BBB and disappeared down the road. We saw them again though a few minutes later chatting with the checkpoint guards that we just down the road. We slowed down to see if they needed any help but they said they were fine and just to keep going.
After that, the road went from pretty good to bumpy again. Oh how we hate those bad Uzbek roads. So of course we got a flat tire about 40km out of Samarkand. We fixed it with no issue (tire was a blow out this time, we wont be able to fix this one. We will have to replace it.). Tire fixed and hands washed by the side of the road, we were ready to go again. And what do you think happened next? The BBB didn’t want to start again. We had of course pulled into the shade to change the tire and we all know what happened last time we pulled into the shade… We waved down some passing truck drivers and a few passing boys to push the car into the sun so it could warm up and the fuel could expand again. Then we had to wait.
Chris & Kerry showed up again at this point and helped us until we could start the car. It took about half an hour of warming up in the afternoon light to get the BBB back into a better mood so it would get us to Samarkand.
Got into Samarkand with Chris & Kerry following us because we had maps and thought we knew where we were going. But, as is always the way the road we were going to take was barricaded off. So we got a bit lost and finally managed to enlist some local help who offered to lead us to the hotel. He first brought us to the Hotel Samarkand, which was a little too pricey for our budget. He made a call to another hotel and got us two rooms for a more moderate price. So we caravanned once again to our new hotel. The new hotel was very nice.
Note: Driving around Samarkand is hair-raising…reds lights are optional and pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way. Meaning that cars will stop dead in the middle of traffic if someone steps off the curb. It doesn’t matter who is behind them! AHHH!!!
After a bit of a rest and a shower, we all went on a walk to look for a restaurant for dinner. We asked some locals where we could find food but no one seemed to want to help until one local came over to us and said “Hi”. That was the extent of her English but she was very nice and insisted that we come with her to somewhere for food. We followed Dilmar (this is the name we could most closely figure out) to a local restaurant where she ordered for us and we had dumplings, beer, bread and shaslik…very tasty… We offered to pay for her dinner too but she did not want any so we had a slow but interesting conversation by passing our Russian phrasebook back and forth and pointing at certain words. We took an adhoc taxi back to the hotel and paid for Dilmar to get home. What an interesting night!
Once again, it is an adventure right?