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Travelog: Central Asia.

fahim mohammed

Active member
My wife and I are in the early stages of planning a trip to Central Asia.

Must see countries for us are Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. The Silk Road beckons. Samarkand, Tashkhent, Bokhara....cities old as time itself.

Any help from those who may have visited these countries is welcome and appreciated.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Oh my goodness, dear Fahim!

How are we young gentleman so ambitious. My wife walks miles a day. She can do such a trip. Me? I would have to train!

I am so impressed with this planned trip!

I can’t help you except to give you my wishes for a wonderful magical tour!

Asher
 

fahim mohammed

Active member
Asher;
Ayesha and I have read ( and continue to read ) about the 10/20 cities and countries one should visit before one dies.
We have been lucky to have seen them all multiple times and then some!

Just as the cathedrals and castles, in the west, have an ever lasting fascination for you folks; similarly the ancient cities, that gave forth algebra, concepts of ' zero ', astronomy, medicine..beckon us.
The cities of the Walt Disney magic carpets, Sindibad, Aladin, the stories from a ' thousand nights and one ' ( and not as incorrectly translated in the west as a thousand and one nights ) holds sway to those of us in the mid-east and Islamic world.

The architecture, to rival the best anywhere, the mosaics, the ceramics, the silks, the minarets and the domes..marvels of architectural and artistic engineering. We need to see them. How? Needs a bit of planning.
Exxon Mobil, is already entrenched in Kazakstan..but we hope enough of tradition survives to rival the export of that American delicacy, McDonald's!

The land of Timur. The land of Babar, who founded the Mogul Dynasty in India..Taj Mahal being one of the constructions of the Moghul period.

The seats of learning, rivaling Baghdad in their times.

We want to see these, before we die! There is so much more to the world than 10 western cities.
 

fahim mohammed

Active member
Thanks Asher.

Turkmenistan is out. Getting a visa has been arduous. I dropped it. Ayesha is still trying to get the visa!

Ayesha has decided to extend her travel time. I cannot afford that luxury, as I have some routine cardio appointments.

She has taken over my Fuji X-H1. Along with the 18-55 and 35/1.4
But she was generous enough to purchase me a new Fuji; to replace my X-H1.

A make over for a washed out legacy of the film era, she said.
I shall be taking all Fuji XF lenses. The 16/1.4, 35/1.4, 50/2.

Oh yes, and the camera...

 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
“Uzbekistan is said to be easier!

One of my brothers, decades ago, invested vast sums of other folks’ money in Kazakhstan. When he arrived to check that the business was being set up, he was met by a bunch of KGB type officials in giant bulky oversized black coats and grim hats, who pointed back to a plane being boarded, pushing him a boarding pass for that flight out in 30 minutes!

“We heard jealous people arranged misfortune. So we’re sent to get home, you, very safely”

“What about all that money?” My brother boldly asked!

A finger smashed vertically across my brothers lips, “Shssh!”

Simultaneously, my brothers shaking hand was pulled to the dead-cold stock of an assault rifle,

“Be thankful there’s a way to walk out of here alive! Good luck and don’t look back!

......and forget Kazakhstan. You were never here!”

Of course, my brother had a super-relaxed flight home, with sequential “Chivas Regal on the rocks”!

Now they were lost in the thick clouds, his seat-mate, in that row turned his head from the window. Firstv he stared at my brothers kippah woven with the “Star of David” secured to his red hair with a steel clip. Then his eyes were transfixed to his face. He stared open-eyed smiling to my brother, obviously wondering how come this fellow was so strangely happy, even before the drinks were poured?

“Did you win the lottery or something?”

“Yes,” my brother replied, swirling another Chivas around the cubes of ice in his glass.

My brother paused to stare past the stranger to infinity and then returned to closely ponder the glass in his hand and how the overhead spotlight vaults its way through the melted ice and whisky,

.....,“or something, as far as I can figure!!”
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Asher,

One of my brothers, decades ago, invested vast sums of other folks’ money in Kazakhstan. When he arrived to check that the business was being set up, he was met by a bunch of KGB type officials in giant bulky oversized black coats and grim hats, who pointed back to a plane being boarded, pushing him a boarding pass for that flight out in 30 minutes!

<snip>
What a wondrous story!

Best regards,

Doug
 

fahim mohammed

Active member
Asher, an interesting experience you narrate. Must have been a while back, though.
Not like that anymore. I know of many friends and families that have been there. Thoroughly enjoyed the friendly experience.

Recently I was watching an American Youtuber, who was interviewing random university students in Kazakhstan.
Both young women and men.

Question: Would you date an American or European?
Answer: Why?
Question: Why not? Are you racists?
Answer: No. But totally different cultures. And we don’t date, like you people do.
Question: Now how about you sir?
Answer: No. Look at our girls. They are beautiful. And they are Muslim.

Question: Would you like to visit Europe or America?
Answer: Yes. Just like you are visiting our country. Will we be welcomed?

Times have changed Asher. Kazakhstan is a very prosperous country. And a very welcoming one.

I was checking Travel Advisor about Uzbekistan.

A gentleman asked, that he was traveling solo and if it was safe at night. He further asked about the nightlife and girls.

The responses, most deleted, was to advise him that Uzbekistan welcomes those wanting to learn about their ancient history, architecture, opera,
Cultural recitals etc. Yes it was safe. Very very safe.
For his other wants, he was advised to stay home or go to some place in Asia.

Yes my friend. These are Muslim countries with cultures extending long before Europe was educated.
 
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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Asher, an interesting experience you narrate. Must have been a while back, though.
Exactly, Fahim!

My story was from many decades ago! Great that that Soviet overlay of culture as has been wiped away!


...........Yes my friend. These are Muslim countries with cultures extending long before Europe was educated.
Remember that Jewish Geographers, Scholars, Astronomers, Navigators, Poets, Philosophers, Chemists and especially Physicians from Arab capitals and royal Muslim courts, brought this mostly Arab scholarship and finessed knowledge, (inherited from the East and Greece), from the scholarly Arabs to Christian Europe.

European languages lacked the vocabulary for all the new terms that had to be created for the astonished recipients!

Within a 100 years, the very Universities and Medical Schools, (established from this knowledge migration), shunned the messengers and barred them!

Now, there is no national memory in any European culture as to where their “Western Knowledge” originated.

Much of my family have no custom of “dating”. Rather introductions occur and when it seems perfect, there’s a match!

However, I think that both systems work. We brought our boys up in a system of much more liberal social boundaries, where dating is the norm. The problem for parents, sometimes is fearing they will never see their children settling down!

The ideal might be midway between the cultures! We’ll see what happens! But it must be a shock, when a son or daughter is just having “fun” and seem to make no commitments.


Asher
 

fahim mohammed

Active member
Hi Peter.

I did not apply for a visa for Turkmenistan. I had read and heard about their visa processing. I even told Ayesha not to bother.
But she is a headstrong woman!

The travel agent is still trying...said they don’t grant tourist visas to Saudi citizens.
I have no beef with that. Their country, their laws and rules. Better places for us to spend our Riyals, way better I say.

Stay well.


A shame your visa wasn't granted. What goes?
 
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