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30th April, Khiva

May 9, 2013

30th April, Khiva
Each afternoon the larger tour groups head back to Urgench, the larger soviet planned city some 30kms from Khiva. A pity for when the sun sinks lower the mud buildings of the old city become bathed in ad h glow that turns them a deepening golden brown. The stall holders are more relaxed as they put their products away talking and helping each other. The odd tourist walks at a slower pace appreciating the peaceful quiet that has settled. Katya, the bactrian camel that visitors pose on, has been led away, a dog barking at her heels. Kids playing football have taken over using 400 year old doors on a building as the goal. The night slowly cools.
We have spent the day visiting more of the museums and madrassas in the old city. So many and often with interesting displays. The Pahlovan Mahmud Masouleum is reputed to be the most beautiful. The interior is completely covered in intricate blue and white tiles. It is one of the few places where shoes need to be removed. A mulllah is seated inside the main room who has a continuous flow of pilgrims seated before him deep in prayer. In a room to the left lies Pahlovan Mahmuud’s tomb with further adherents kneeling in front at prayer. It’s the height of the tourst season here in Khiva but the place isn’t over run with them.
The locals love their icecreams. Actually we have become addicted to them ourselves. Not Magnums but the snow freezes, especially in Samarkand, are of a high quality. I know I know, the guide books say you shouldn’t eat ice creams, you shouldn’t eat salads, you should wash all fruit, well, we break the rules in all of those with no noticeable affect so far. Maybe the vodka kills all the bugs.
Tomorrow we head out to the castles in the desert. Old ruined forts, the remnants of a time when this area was covered in swamp and tigers roamed. It should be an interesting day.

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