When Bactria was Buddhist

Surkhondarya, Uzbekistan July 29, 2019 My questions about sites I wanted to see around Termez, met with bafflement immediately followed by a string of excuses. Either unknown or too far or not accessible or not permitted. I could only go to the ones firmly on the tourist radar. Given time, I suppose I could have … More When Bactria was Buddhist

In Bactria Again

Termez, Uzbekistan July 28, 2019 My wanderings in Balkh and Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan were intriguing because of the wealth of history this part of the world is steeped in. And frustrating because I could not travel easily or see the many sites that I wanted to. But Bactria of old had boundaries that stretched beyond Amu … More In Bactria Again

Welcome to Termez

Termez, Uzbekistan July 26, 2019 Getting off the train, I ran the usual gauntlet of taxi drivers. The backpack may scream “tourist” but fending them off is simple. A couple of words of Tajik and they just write me off and turn to other potential customers. Unable to remember most of the Uzbek I had … More Welcome to Termez

Over the Moon

Tashkent, Uzbekistan July 22, 2019 I got it! I got it! I got it! I got it! I got it! I got it! I got it! That is the refrain playing through my head. I still cannot believe that I got this infamously difficult visa. The rumors on traveler grapevine of Tashkent having a higher … More Over the Moon

The New Silk Road

Samarkhand, Uzbekistan July 19, 2019 In days of yore, camel caravans would arrive in Samarkhand or Bukhara with heartfelt relief. If traveling west, they had survived the dangers of the Taklamakhan desert, battled the robbers in the passes of the Hindu Kush and traveled the dry high deserts of the Pamirs. They would arrive in … More The New Silk Road

Infamous Transit Visa

Tashkent, Uzbekistan July 12, 2019 My original hare-brained scheme had been to cross from Afghanistan to Turkmenistan by land but the finicky Turkmenistan visa proved elusive. I figured Herat would be the place to do some fact-finding and had even found someone who lived in Torghundi. Yes, the border is open for Afghans and Turkmens … More Infamous Transit Visa