Saying Yes to Soviet Westerns, Cellos and Vodka. A night out in Samarkand.

Before I left Australia I had decided to say ‘Yes’ to any offer or invitation that came my way, as Danny Wallace did in the fun read ‘Yes Man’. The idea was to see what adventures this may lead me too, to get out of my hotel room, and to get out of my comfort zone. The only condition was that it had to be legal and not involve over inflated price gouging by older Russian ladies with so much make-up on they would resemble ‘the Joker’ if they cried (one step forward ladies of the night at the Hotel Uzbekistan bar in Tashkent).

Police on my back. Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Within one hour of my arrival in Tashkent I had been stopped in the street three times, my bag searched twice, and my pockets emptied out once by curt, unfriendly police. I was left in no doubt who was in control, although I was getting somewhat annoyed, but hey, this is Uzbekistan.

Genghis Khan was here. Broken bones and pottery. Afrosiab, Uzbekistan

One of the best sites in Samarkand is away from the main tourist trail of Minarets, Madrasah and tombs, the remains of Afrosiab. This was the original city that pre-dates modern Samarkand. Described as ‘the most beautiful city in the world’ by a contemporary, it was a major trading station on the Silk road. Once occupied by Alexander the Great, it was destroyed by the violent Mongol invasion force in March 1220, with over 100,000 inhabitants being put to the sword.

‘The noblest public square in the world’. In Samarkand

Updating this blog on a Cyrillic keyboard, Russian win xp, and with a partially working space bar has given my brain a nice workout. Arriving in Samarkand is really going back in time, not just with no Wi-Fi and waiting 2 mins for a page to load, but to be in the city of the beautiful Registan.

Becoming A TV Personality for five minutes. Beer and Shashlik in Samarkand.

On the final leg of my journey to Uzbekistan  (a journey that took me almost 24 hours from Sydney) I was approached by a large South African man. He wanted my autograph, and have his picture taken with me. I was a famous TV cook and he loved my show. I did like the attention, and thought about pretending to be a personality, but had to admit that sadly I was not famous and did not have my own TV show.

Beer and Bread on the Silk Road. Central Asia

Farflungplaces is off to Central Asia. My last trip to Uzbekistan was in 2010,  and this is one of my favourite photos taken as I wandered amongst the stalls of the Chorzu Bazzar in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Not a Womble in sight. The Bungle Bungle Ranges. Kimberley. Australia

Heading back to Kunanurra from Halls Creek, I stopped at Turkey Creek (also known as Warmun). Great for refueling, getting a snack or even sleeping in a cabin at the Roadhouse. It is also where you can drive in the Bungle Bungle range in the Purnulu National park. Just saying 'The Bungle Bungles' out loud is fun, natural alliteration, and throws up fond childhood memories for me of rotund furry Wombles picking up litter and sashaying across Wimbledon common.