Yesterday was exhausting, as we hadn’t intended driving straight through from Khiva to Bukhara. The heat and the constant bouncing about on rough roads is draining. Nor had we anticipated the football being played so late, by Uzbek time, which meant we didn’t get to bed until after 1.00 am.
So, today has been designated a “lazy” day. Last night when we walked through the little, narrow alleyways into the Lyabi-Hauz, a square built around a pool, we were surprised to come from the quiet, dark side streets into a buzzing plaza. The atmosphere was electric. Children playing, people promenading or sitting and chatting, and restaurants, some with terraces, all packed with diners. All surrounding the pool, which is bordered by overhanging, ancient Mulberry trees. Music playing and hubbub everywhere. We dined on one of the terraces, a real treat after a few nights in the Land Rover.
What a difference this morning, late morning by the time we were up and about. The place was deserted in the sizzling hot sunlight.
We wandered around the city looking at the numerous historic buildings, the Ark being the most spectacular. A royal town inside the town and Bukhara’s oldest structure dating back to the 5th century. A number of mosques and minarets later, we sought some shade.
Where else do you go in Bukhara for respite from the heat. A carpet shop, of course. We are now the proud possessors of a beautiful silk carpet. Extravagant you might think. We have looked at carpets in Turkey and Morocco and not indulged, but then regretted it later. Anyway, Dennis, encouraged me 😊😊 I’m not feeling guilty, just wondering how we are going to carry it, after we leave the Land Rover.
We’re now back at Hostel Rumi surrounded by a bunch of French cyclists. They look as if they have been on the road for a while. Native dress and hair that has not seen a barber for a very long time. Pig tails, pony tails and one guy with hair wound around his head, like a turban. Burned almost black by the unrelenting sun. It is nice just to switch off for a few hours and relax and soak up the local atmosphere.
What a day this is turning out to be! The euphoria of the silk carpet purchase has rapidly worn off. Now we have discovered another mechanical issue with the Land Rover. Dennis noticed liquid on the ground, escaping from somewhere under the bonnet. Oil or water? It’s the water pump!!! Oh dear! These things happen. The Land Rover is 17 years old and is taking a hell of a beating on these rough roads. We will have to get a new pump and can’t get one here. So, phone calls and emails to the UK, Russia and Kazakstan to see who can get the part to us quickest. John at GumTree says 3 – 7 days. We know we can rely on John, so we asked him to send one to us.
We can’t sleep in the vehicle outside the hostel while we wait for the part. It is just too hot. So, we are now very comfortably ensconced in the Hotel Old City, which is just next door, the hostel rooms being fully booked. The hostel manager very kindly negotiated a special rate for us. US$30, instead of $50 per night. It looks as if we shall be having a few a more lazy days!