TWC'S Odyssey
Tan Wee Cheng's Travels in the Central Asian Republics of Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan

18 Jul   Bukhara - Khiva
Walked around the old city in the morning.  Went to Turku Jangi and had tea and some disgustingly oily snacks with the caretaking mullah.  Hated the snacks but the friendly mullah insisted that I finish them.  Went to the House of Faizullah Khodjaev, first president of Soviet Uzbekistan.  This was the house of his father, a rich Bukharan merchant.  Like many other famous revolutionaries, Faizullah Khodjaev was a betrayer of his class.  He was a member of the Young Bukharan Movement, cooperated with the Bolsheviks to overthrow the Bukharan Emirate, and later presided over the ethnic division of Turkestan before finally being liquidated by Stalin in 1938.  A beautifully decorated house.  My visit was marred by the ticket collector who brought me around, and then demanded a huge sum for the entrance and photo-taking.  Also visited the Monument of the Great Patriotic War.  Robert nearly walked into its flames the day before.  The glaring sun had provided the treacherous flame with a good camouflage.
House of Faizullah Khodjaev: An old hero? Flag of the Bolshevik Bukhara People's Republic House of Faizullah Khodjaev: "National House"
The mullah of Turku Jangi: Oily snacks & choy Anne, my Belgian friend, examining the Khiva bus

I bade farewell to Robert (who's going to Tashkent and then out of Central Asia) before setting off for Urgench on a bus (771 soms) with the two Belgian ladies.  This was supposed to be a 10 hour journey but turned out to be 15 hours long.  This was because:
1) The bus arrived 70 minutes late
2) The bus stopped 500 meters outside the bus-stop in order to pick up other passengers.  It waited for 45 minutes, during which the originally half-filled bus became 20% overcapacity, with a number of passengers standing.  Of course, these additional passengers' fares went direct to the driver's pocket.  The bus also doubled as a supply vehicle for a meal stop we were to pass by later on.  Over ten sacks were deposited in the luggage compartments plus what little standing space left on the bus.
3) Just as the bus was about to start again, a tyre suddenly punctured, probably due to over-carriage.  And so our driver had to replace the tyre and that took another 2 hours, with all the passengers waiting under the summer heat of possibly 45 to 50'C.  By the time we started again, it didn't take long before night fell and, as a result, the bus was horribly slow ( - I supposed it was dangerous to drive too fast in the desert at night).

And so we reached Urgench only at 3am the next morning, where we were besieged by numerous taxi-drivers who almost fought over us (imagine that they waited for 5 hours too for this bus !).  And so we selected one who quoted the LP-recommended price of US$5 for the ride to Khiva.

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