12.05.2008 - 13.05.2008 28 °C
I've had it all now during the last two weeks: vomitting, congestion, diarrhoea, but things are improving gradually, at least for me. Other people have been hit worse and hopefully all will be able to cross to China by bicycle in less than two weeks from now. East of Samarqand the fertile agricultural landscape continues and the valley of the river Sanzar adds to the aesthetical value of yesterdays and today's bike route (apart from taking us slowly downhill, making cycling very easy.
The entire area is clearly a nodal point on the silk route with a high population density, sizeable towns such as Djizzak and a comparatively modern railway transportation network.
According to the schedule we will pass the border to Tajikistan tomorrow. Tajiks belong to a different language family (Persian) than do most of the other countries that we have travelled. Uzbek is a Turkic language (like Turkish, Azeri, Turkmen): where in Turkey it was Hos Geldiniz for Welcome, in Uzbekistan it is Xus Kelibsiz. The X is borrowed from the Russian Cyrillic alphabet und would be transcribed and prounounced as kh in English. Still Cyrillic script (one tries to read Russian, but of course it mostly Uzbek) is quite common in commercials, but official signposting has largely been changed to Latin letters. Greetings from O'sbekiston!
Djizzak/Uzbekistan. Railway line connecting Samarqand and Tashkent. Photo taken Tue 13 May
GPS track from Samarqand to Tamerlan's Gates: http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=25304