Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Roller Coaster

After the high life in Nukus with my VIP friends and visiting Uzbekistans finest school I set off again.

Day 1

I was joined by 2 Kazaks and 1 Uzbek (Caragalpaghistan (sp?)) on racer bikes who didn't speak english. I thought they were visiting a friend. They wanted to race me up every hill and that competative streak hasn't diminished. I fought for every one. Legs were wasted.

Cutting a long story short - I was taken to the Mecca of Caragalpaghistan as a pilgrimage for the end of ramadan. (I should have known better than to think these guys were out for fun??!!). I was an offering to the gods!! :oD I suspect I was the first westerner to visit this holy of holy places and enjoyed praying, eating (I was offered the chickens neck as the guest!!), and the architecture was beautiful.

Day 2

Invited into workmans caravans to celebrate 56th Birthday of one of the workers. (Let me note here that at 56 he had outlived the life expectancy for a male - but was trying very hard to drink his way there during the night). Awesome evening. It entertains the local people so much to see a westerner down vodka that i tended to do it a bit too much - but obviously not as much as the locals. I sang happy birthday and gave a speech in his honour - brilliant!!

The great man I met here told me he loved his family. "It's a national custom in Uzbekistan" my heart melted. Fantastic to hear after 'girl' offerings of late. All rejected whole heartedly I might add!!

Day 3

The powers that be decided too much ying and threw me a curved yang. Really bad stomach all day - imagine having diarhea in bib shorts, surrounded by deep deep sand that gets everywhere. Now times that by 10 and you can imagine how misserable I was. In fact I was still OK at this point and memories were keeping depression at bay.

Day 4

Whilst eating breakfast at a Chai place surrounded by locals a 40yr old man sexually assaulted a girl. People shook there heads and smiled. The worst of it was that the performance was for my benefit i am sure. He looked over at me, and you know what I smiled a meek smile and looked away. I hate myself for that. But what right have I (a westerner) to interveen in something that I have no idea about. In customs practised thoughout. Man is man here. Women are looked upon about the same level as the farm animals. She WAS laughing but it was the laugh of a school child being bullied. Terrible. It still haunts me and I know it's happening everywhere. (NB since writing I know this isn't always the way but it is in some places and some families and I don't like it)

The same guy had offered his wife to me the previous night and shown me her assets in no uncertain way. This wife and the girl in question above had both stood as if it would be quite normal for me to choose them for the evening??! Mucked up!!

If you happen to come across Alex in a chai house just before the police station half way between Nukus and Bukara and accidently spill your boiling Chai in a place no man wants to be burnt then i owe you a drink!! :o)

I took out my map as i left to see if there was a way to get out of Uzbekistan now. Silly I know - the people in this country and amazing and one person shouldn't change my thoughts.

(In later tea houses I was pleased to see women bossing the men around - I guess that was a bit of yang for the man too)

Day 5

I'm in Bukara now and have been for a Hamen - steam room and massage. I'm sorry Roberto but I think you have competition. One hell of a massage - amazing. Men and women go in seperate houses, get naked, get steamed, then rubbed to remove dead skin, then washed, then massaged in a manner that is out of this world. I was cracked squished and beaten to a pulp in a way I have never known. He walked along my body - it was fantastic!!! They then rub ginger onto your skin with honey. It burns like acid!! But as soon as you are out of the hot rooms you feel amazing. like you could cycle up mountains and through deserts (lucky huh!!)

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