Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan
Day 14 - Friday, 5 May 2000

On Friday morning after breakfast, we paid a visit to a wood carver, and watched young boys learning the skill of the beautiful carving on posts. As we looked at some completed items, a tea table was quickly set up and laden with goodies.

Fresh strawberries, cream puffs, and other breads all looked wonderful, along with tea. Meli protested, and Utkir explained to her why this was being done. "Last year when you were here, you would not allow him to do it." Something else was said about what our host experienced when he traveled and how important it is to be allowed to offer this hospitality. So we were obliged to sit down and enjoy at least a measure of it. I wish I had skipped breakfast this morning! It is truly the loveliest and most delicious breakfast we have had on the tour, and hopefully will be a feature of future tours.

We started our last long bus ride, from Samarkand to Tashkent. Lunch was at a small settlement in a valley. At first I thought it was just a stop to inspect the local honey and use the toilets. But just when I thought we were about to leave, Utkir announced lunch was across the road. I elected to stay on the bus, I was not hungry, just very tired.

In Tashkent we had some time to refresh ourselves at our hotel before dinner. Some tour members made a quick dash to the bazaar for special items. Then we went to the home of one of the ladies who works with the agency. Dinner has been prepared for us, I think it was a joint effort by all the agency members. After some excellent dining, they entertained us with music.

Soon it was time to go. At the hotel, we could sleep for a couple of hours, before leaving to meet our plane for a 3:30 AM departure.

- Continues with Day 15 -