This morning started out as all mornings do: with breakfast. After that our hotel owner told us he had found a mechanic that could work on our car issue for us. Yeah, we’re still having a car issue. But!!! Even though I’ve said this before, I think I really mean it this time, we’ve found the problem! And it goes all the way back to my very first post about our road trip. It really is something electrical like our mechanic back at home says, it’s something simple he should have been able to figure out, it’s simple to fix, but????? The piece is not available anywhere at all in the entire country of Uzbekistan because this is the land of the white Chevrolet. So, we can’t fix it until we get back to Kazakhstan.
He told us it’s not an emergency. We’ll be okay. We need to keep a close eye on the temperature guage and if it starts to overheat we need to stop and let the car relax for a bit. Other than that we’ll be okay. Thanks a lot, mechanic back home, Mister I-checked-your-car-and-prepared-you-completely-for-your-road-trip-then-as-soon-as-you-broke-down-told-you-you-had-an-electrical-problem. I. HATE. YOU.
And yet, we had a great time with the mechanic! He was really friendly, he talked to me like I was one of the guys, which is not normal for a mechanic anywhere in the world, he took us our for lunch with his crew, and, get this, he refused to accept any money from us! We kept insisting but he wouldn’t take any money at all! He said we were guests in his country and he wouldn’t accept our money. He paid for lunch too!
After all that it was two o’clock in the afternoon! We were getting an incredibly late start to our tourist activities for the day. I had to see the world famous mausoleums of Samarkand. First on the list was the Shah-i-Zinda Ensemble of Mausoleums. I’ve never seen anything like like it. They were so beautiful.
Next we went to the Sadriddin Ayni House Museum. I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of the guy and I only did some very brief Googling of his name. He’s considered the most famous writer in Tajik history. For those of you that don’t know, even though Samarkand is in Uzbekistan, the majority of the people are Tajik. The real reason we went to the museum was the Google reviews. Some of them are terrible. “True dog Bolshevik!”, “Traitor!!!” With reviews like that how could we not go to the museum? There wasn’t much there and no one spoke English but the ticket was cheap and I have a story to tell.
After the Sadriddin Ayni House Museum we walked to the Museum of Political Repression so we could repress people. Not really. It was a museum honoring all the people that were repressed by the Soviets in the past. We were really excited about seeing it, but when we got there it was closed. Sad. A nice university aged guy stopped to tell us it isn’t open on the weekends. Had we known that we would have gone yesterday. It was pretty high on our must see list and we’re leaving tomorrow. Oh well, we have an entire nation to see. We’re bound to not see it all.
Next was the likely the most impressive mausoleum on earth: the mausoleum of Amir Timur. Amir Timur is known as one of the greatest military leaders from all history. He began the Timurid Empire. I’ve seen hundreds of mausoleums in my life, dare I say thousands? I’ve never seen anything like this.
Next, we walked to the Oq Saroy mausoleum. Apparently no one knows the exact history of this mausoleum. We’ve found lots of beautiful, ornate, huge, old mausoleums like that. It’s amazing to realize how someone was once so rich and powerful to earn such a mausoleum and is now completely forgotten from history. Momento Mori. It was a pain in the butt. As the crow flies, it was literally right behind the Amir Timur mausoleum, but there was a locked gate between the two. Insert curse word here. It wasn’t really that big of a deal all but we had a grumpy teen in tow. It was about a fifteen minute walk around the neighborhood to get there, and then, when we arrived… there was an iron fence around the whole thing with a big locked gate. The internet says the doors are open for tourists. The internet lies.
After our bust at the mausoleum we walked to the Science Museum at the Uzbekistan State University. It wasn’t the best museum ever but I did learn that the Uzbekistan State University is the successor of the Ulugh Beg madrassa and that was really cool.
We were finished! We have one more thing we want to do and that’s the paper factory. That was the plan for today, but we ended up spending all morning and half the afternoon with the mechanic so, instead it will be tomorrow morning. We wanted some coffee. I typed coffee shop into Google Maps and found El Merosi. The place was beautiful and they made a good coffee.
We just wanted to relax after a long three days and we weren’t in any kind of a hurry so we just chilled. Right when we thought we were about to leave a guy started speaking to us in English. It turned out he was the owner of the cafe. Not only was he the owner of the cafe but the owner of the entire building, a multi-national businessman, and member of the Samarkand city council! So, we stayed. He gave us a tour of his place. He has a theater in the back where the give full theatrical performances, and he’s even opened a restaurant recently. All the the design work on the walls and all the furniture in the entire place were hand designed. We had homemade cheesecake and then he convinced us to also try their homemade 100% natural ice cream. At least we knew we didn’t have to worry about dinner later!
It was time to head home for the evening! We got back to the hotel and I pulled my computer out to start typing this entry up. Uh oh. The wifi wasn’t working in our room. I took my laptop down to the lobby where my husband had stayed to chat with the hotel owner. The owner wasn’t there but I found my husband talking with someone else. I sat down behind them and he didn’t even know I was there. I started typing but then got sucked into their conversation. I heard the man say he was a classical musician. Classical musician!!!!! What??? Then he mentioned an Uzbek classical music museum! This is where I spoke up.
My husband jumped because I had been sitting behind them and he didn’t even know I was there. It was funny. It turned out there had been an Uzbek classical music museum just 5 meters from our hotel the entire time we had been here and we hadn’t known! I asked the guy to take us there and he did! It was late but he opened up for us, turned all the lights on, gave us a private tour, and even played us some music! Here’s a of him playing for us.
Now, I’m really done and oh my god I’m tired.