Summer Pt.II

Old Jul 30th 2018, 10:02 pm
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Default Re: Summer Pt.II

Originally Posted by Miss Ann Thrope
Yes, definitely worth a visit: Timur, silk road, the whole post-Soviet central Asian weirdness..

Samarkhand, though utterly unmissable, was a bit of a disappointment as the main historical buildings are over-restored in a very Soviet kind of way and it is the home city of the president-for-this-life-and-the-next so it feels massively tarted up. But a lot to see there including the Scythian/Sogdian museum and archaeology, not just the Timurid stuff (which is amazing). Bukhara was the highlight for me: a real atmospheric genuinely exotic place where the historical sites are fully integrated in daily city life, bordering on orientalist fantasy but totally unfake. Khiva is stunning and while it is a bit of a museum park, it is worth the trip out there. And then there is the Khizlkum desert and the amazing enormous Amu Darya (Oxus).

Tashkent is pleasant and chaotic and has a fantastic Soviet subway system (the station with the space stuff is a highlight) though the airport, immigration and customs were a horror show even by regional standards (and speaking as someone who was deported from another stan). I didn't get to the rump Aral sea as it is a long overland trip nor to the Fergana valley which has some travel restrictions I think. One thing I regret not doing is going to the Afghan border at Termez which is apparently quite a dramatic location on the Amu Darya in the mountains. I think it could be squeezed into an extra day on a side-trip from Samarkhand also taking in Shahrisabz (Timur's birthplace which is worth the effort and a very scenic trip).

Food tip: fill up on the delicious salads and mezze type starters as the main course stuff is very heavy going - not as much shashlik as elsewhere, but lots of plov... Impossible to get a decent cup of coffee. More ethnically mixed than the other stans with clear separate communities of Turkic, Persian and East Asiatic origin, physically and linguistically distinct, as well as the Russians of course. Booze shops everywhere and a very Soviet style of Islam (maybe different in Fergana). The country and Uzbek identity is a bit of a 19th century Tsarist fabrication anyway so it is much more of a melting pot than the other stans. It doesn't have the dramatic mountain scapes of Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan or the steppes of Kazakhstan but it's still my second favourite central Asian destination (after the utterly extraordinary Turkmenistan).
Thank you.

Can you explain more: airport, immigration and customs were a horror show even by regional standards

I've been to Kyrgyzstan, which I enjoyed, but it lacks the cultural history that Uzbekistan promises to have. It's really Samarkand, Khiva and Bukhara that I want to see. Good comment about the food. I think the plov is laden with melted fat (horsefat?) and that makes it heavy.
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Old Jul 31st 2018, 3:04 am
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Default Re: Summer Pt.II

Originally Posted by DXBtoDOH
Thank you.

Can you explain more: airport, immigration and customs were a horror show even by regional standards

I've been to Kyrgyzstan, which I enjoyed, but it lacks the cultural history that Uzbekistan promises to have. It's really Samarkand, Khiva and Bukhara that I want to see. Good comment about the food. I think the plov is laden with melted fat (horsefat?) and that makes it heavy.
Big scrum for very few counters after disembarking, moving very slowly. Customs even worse than immigration with forms only in Cyrillic - that was 6+ years ago so may be better now but took about 2 hours to get through.

Uzbekistan is definitely not as pretty or dramatic as Kyrgyzstan, much more crowded and hectic but, as you say, it's about the great cultural legacies, including a few surprising ones. Really worth being versed in the history, Timur of course but also the Mongols, later khanates and the 18th and 19th century Russian expansion and the great game. You can see an awful lot in a short time and it really helps to be familiar with the context to understand what you are looking at at any given time. Khiva, for example, looks magnificent but is mostly from the last two hundred years. Bukhara is the only place with a significant amount of pre-Timur stuff including the only minaret spared by Ghengis Khan. Understanding the significance of Bukhara to muslims and the Bukhari scholarship of hadiths etc makes it even more meaningful when you see what is there (including an extant Jewish quarter with working synagogues and schools). Tashkent is worth some of your time also.

The fat in plov is the big lump of arse fat from those central Asian sheep. The food, like most things in Uzbekistan, I found to be less Russified than Kyrgyzstan where all the aspects of urban culture were only established after the Russians took over what was a completely agrarian nomadic territory. The ubiquity of cheap nasty vodka is very Russian though...
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Old Jul 31st 2018, 4:56 pm
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Default Re: Summer Pt.II

Originally Posted by Miss Ann Thrope
The fat in plov is the big lump of arse fat from those central Asian sheep...
I ate raw horse fat in Japan and it was horrific.
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Old Jul 31st 2018, 9:10 pm
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Default Re: Summer Pt.II

Originally Posted by Scamp
I ate raw horse fat in Japan and it was horrific.
sounds it but that’s what holidays are for.
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Old Aug 1st 2018, 4:51 am
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Default Re: Summer Pt.II

Originally Posted by Scamp
Seminyak.

Kind of hoping to not really move too much at all. Want to just occasionally roll over to stop sunbed sores and to scratch my arse or reach for a beer.
I really liked Seminyak when I went a few years back. If you want good food I recommend - Sarong https://sarongbali.com/ Mamasan https://mamasanbali.com/ and Sardine for lunch Sardine Bali - Potato Head is a lot of fun too https://www.ptthead.com/

Ubud is nice I thought even if a little busy. Bourdain loved the roast suckling pig here... it's good.

Very cool day trip from Seminyak if you want a view and some traditional food, you can also do a cooking class - is to here (long way but quite cool) Bali Asli (good view of the volcano also), Penny that runs Bali Asli is very cool http://www.baliasli.com.au/

Have fun.
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Old Aug 1st 2018, 5:36 pm
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Default Re: Summer Pt.II

Originally Posted by Autonomy
I really liked Seminyak when I went a few years back. If you want good food I recommend - Sarong https://sarongbali.com/ Mamasan https://mamasanbali.com/ and Sardine for lunch Sardine Bali - Potato Head is a lot of fun too https://www.ptthead.com/

Ubud is nice I thought even if a little busy. Bourdain loved the roast suckling pig here... it's good.

Very cool day trip from Seminyak if you want a view and some traditional food, you can also do a cooking class - is to here (long way but quite cool) Bali Asli (good view of the volcano also), Penny that runs Bali Asli is very cool http://www.baliasli.com.au/

Have fun.
Thanks a lot, much appreciated.
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Old Aug 1st 2018, 6:17 pm
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Default Re: Summer Pt.II

Just have to say the weather has been amazing in Qatar. Hot, but dry, minimal to no humidity. Fantastic clarity. More akin to early May weather. I can walk around during the day without feeling clobbered by the combination of dust and humidity and heat. Last night was a wonderful sunset with the deep dark blue skies and sparkly city lights and the glow in the horizon. Everyone is talking about how weird this summer has been.
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Old Aug 1st 2018, 6:22 pm
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Default Re: Summer Pt.II

Originally Posted by Autonomy
Have fun.
Just looked through all the links, thanks again. Super recommendations in there by the looks of it.

Originally Posted by DXBtoDOH
Just have to say the weather has been amazing in Qatar. Hot, but dry, minimal to no humidity. Fantastic clarity. More akin to early May weather. I can walk around during the day without feeling clobbered by the combination of dust and humidity and heat. Last night was a wonderful sunset with the deep dark blue skies and sparkly city lights and the glow in the horizon. Everyone is talking about how weird this summer has been.
It's hateful here. Since landing on Sunday in the early hours it's been hot as shit and dusty....then moving to humid, hot and miserable.
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Old Aug 1st 2018, 7:36 pm
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Default Re: Summer Pt.II

Originally Posted by Scamp
Just looked through all the links, thanks again. Super recommendations in there by the looks of it.



It's hateful here. Since landing on Sunday in the early hours it's been hot as shit and dusty....then moving to humid, hot and miserable.
Hunt out the The Fat Gajah and a great bar called La Favela . Hotel Mexicola is quite cool and The Plantation Grill as well as the beach bars La Plancha and Potato Head .
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Old Aug 1st 2018, 8:31 pm
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Default Re: Summer Pt.II

Originally Posted by co durham boy
Hunt out the The Fat Gajah and a great bar called La Favela . Hotel Mexicola is quite cool and The Plantation Grill as well as the beach bars La Plancha and Potato Head .
Thank you kindly, all look great too. Potato Head is next to our hotel which is a bonus.
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Old Aug 5th 2018, 5:59 am
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Default Re: Summer Pt.II

Originally Posted by Scamp
Thank you kindly, all look great too. Potato Head is next to our hotel which is a bonus.
Eek - 6.9 Quake again tonight - felt in Bali...

When do you go?
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Old Aug 5th 2018, 1:05 pm
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Default Re: Summer Pt.II

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Old Aug 5th 2018, 5:04 pm
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Default Re: Summer Pt.II

Originally Posted by Autonomy
Eek - 6.9 Quake again tonight - felt in Bali...

When do you go?
Friday. It'll be alright.
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Old Aug 10th 2018, 5:21 pm
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Default Re: Summer Pt.II

This place shits on Thailand.

Unreal.
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