The Silk Road: On the Beaten Path

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

It’s funny that to the American audience, most people don’t see Uzbekistan as a cultural sightseeing vacation destination. However, to many other countries — many European because of proximity, I gather — it very much is “ON the beaten path;” with a plethora of restored historical sites, modern cities that surround them, and a decent travel infrastructure, people arrive in hordes by the busload — literally.

Samarkand, the former capital of Amir Temur’s great empire during the Silk Road days, can be compared to Istanbul, Rome, or Athens in terms of mass tourism. There’s even big tour groups with guides who have to hold a flag in the air so that every in can follow. Here’s a big German group obstructing my view of the Gur-E-Amir Mausoleum, coincidentally right near my hotel.

Later in the day, I encounter groups of Italians, Chinese, and Russian tourists, to name a few.

The buildings of the famed Registan dwarf anyone approaching on foot. It’s a short 8-minute walk away from my hotel in the Old Town, and I feel tiny.

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Next entry: Three Taj Mahals For The Price of One

Previous entry: Fast Train to 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:
Three Taj Mahals For The Price of One

Previous entry:
Fast Train to Samarkand


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

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

NIZ: acronym for "No Internet Zone"; a place where there is little to no Internet access, thus preventing dispatches from being posted.

SBR: acronym for "Silent Blog Reader"; a person who has regularly followed The Global Trip blog for years without ever commenting or making his/her presence known to the rest of the reading community. (Breaking this silence by commenting is encouraged.)

Stupid o'clock: any time of the early morning that you have to wake up to catch a train, bus, plane, or tour. Usually any time before 6 a.m. is automatically “stupid o’clock.”

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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