Blogger Jeff Hall of Finkenwalde recently linked to my Red Sox essay and sent me a nice email. I went to take a peek at his writing and discovered that he’s in the army and was recently stationed in Central Asia. Uzbekistan, to be precise. Uzbekistan is an interesting place, not only because it’s in the middle of Stan-land (it borders Thisstan, Thatstan, and Theotherstan) but because it straddles the great Silk Road and contains one of the most exotic places in the world: Samarkand. Never having been there, I can’t vouch for what it’s “really like.” But the history of the Silk Road is fascinating, and the names can’t be beat for raw sex appeal: Samarkand, Uzbekistan, the Rome of the East, is located in the valley of the Zarafshan; it is the city of Tamerlane the Great, and home to Ulugbek’s peerless observatory.
Jeff Hall has been there, and you can read about what he had to say about it on the July 17th, 18th, and 19th posts to his blog. As a result of these posts, I’m putting Peter Hopkirk’s The Great Game on my reading list so I can learn a little more about Central Asian history. I have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to be useful information. Any Rambles readers out there ever been to Kazakhstan?