Sunday, April 18, 2010

Silk Road Day 23: Khiva

This morning we arrived in Urgench and hopped on the buses that have been following us through Uzbekistan and drove to Khiva. Apparently the bus drivers are both from Urgench so they have been slowly making their way home as they take us around.

Khiva 01

Khiva 02

Khiva is an ancient city more than 2,500 years old and recently restored by UNESCO. 500 people still live inside the ancient city walls. Being Sunday, the market was open and I think 250,000 Uzbekis were there.

Khiva 03

Khiva 04

Being so obviously blonde, Kendall and I were besieged by students wanting to take our photos. At first we refused, thinking they wanted us to take photos of them, and then hassle us for money (a typical scam in this part of the world) but we eventually realised they were just curious. They wanted to know our names, where we were from, how old we were, did we have any children, they wanted to tell us their names... it was exhausting but very funny. As soon as they figured out we were Australian they'd hop around like kangaroos.

Khiva 05

We had morning tea at a traditional tea house and it was delicious. After more wandering around and people watching we had lunch at the Khan's Summer Palace and then got back on the train.

Khiva 06

Crazy hat party after dinner was hilarious; Kendall's impersonation of an Uzbeki rap star (Hello Book!*) had everyone rolling in the aisles. Gained an hour as we travel further west, and we were warned to be ready for border security as we cross the border back into Kazakhstan in the morning.

*What every local vendor would say to try and get you to look as his wares.

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