Fast Train to Samarkand

Tashkent to Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Monday, October 20, 2014.

A police officer stares out the window as the Afrosiyub high-speed train travels from Tashkent to Samarkand.

 


A video posted by Erik (@theglobaltrip) on


Tashkent may be #Uzbekistan’s modern capital city full of the government and commercial buildings of today, but in the old days of the Silk Road, that glory belonged to the city of Samarkand in the south. Today, the most convenient way to get to this ancient Silk Road hub is by ultra-modern high-speed train, the Afrosiyub.

“Hey, it’s you guys from the square,” I said to two familiar faces as I arrived at the first security checkpoint at Tashkent Railway Station.

“I hope you deleted the photo of that horrendous building,” joked the middle-aged Australian. He really hated the Hotel Uzbekistan.

His guide reached out his hand to me. “Mohammed.”

“Erik. And you?”

“Richard.”

And suddenly I had some travel company, at least for the train ride. Coincidentally, Mohammed’s seat was just in front of mine.

Speeding at 120 mph, we traveled through the countryside in modern comfort. Even in economy, there was TV to watch, headphones, and a snack service as everyone sat or napped in cushioned seats. The two-hour ride was smooth and relaxing and I felt that it put Amtrak to shame.

“Welcome to Samarkand,” Mohammed said to me when we arrived. I reckoned he’d been many times.

“I guess I’ll see you at the next site,” I told Richard on the platform. We got our respective taxis and departed.

Next stop: glorious Samarkand.

 


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This dispatch is one of over 70 travel dispatches from the trip grouped and titled, "The Global Trip: 'Stan By Me." It's an archived compilation of Instagram and Facebook posts which chronicled a trip through three countries in Central Asia: Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.

Next entry:
The Silk Road: On the Beaten Path

Previous entry:
Farewell Akmal




THE GLOBAL TRIP GLOSSARY

Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

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The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

WHMMR: acronym for "Western Hemisphere Monday Morning Rush"; an unofficial deadline to get new content up by a Monday morning, in time for readers in the western hemisphere (i.e. the majority North American audience) heading back to their computers.

1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.




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