cindypepper! Posts

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Our bags packed and ready to go, Rebekah and I were on the train to our second Uzbek destination: Samarkand! Was I excited or was I really freaking excited that I could now visit the one elusive place that refused to be crossed off my travel bucket list. If there was one place that inspired this entire trip, it was Samarkand, the historic town that became an UNESCO site for being the Crossroads of Cultures, the Silk Road hub, the capital of the Timurid empire … the list goes on and on. If Bukhara felt like a town that was pulled out and recreated from a time-machine and Tashkent felt like a modern city breaking out of its post-Soviet shadow, then Samarkand was an intersection of the two. There were a lot more cars! Bars! (Granted, this wasn’t exactly pub crawl territory, but there were at least more signs of life during the nighttime.) People! Like this gent below:

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The man above, Timur / Tamerlane / Amir Temur, was the leader whose dynasty had revolved around Samarkand (and overall, Persia/Central Asia) and whose statue now watches over one of Samarkand’s biggest intersections. He also has a pretty awesome mausoleum dedicated to him:

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Read More Central Asia, Part 5: Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Central Asia 2015 Travel

Only one of two doubly landlocked countries in the world, Uzbekistan had been a mainstay on my travel bucket list for years (ever since it occurred to me that I should keep track of the places I want to visit), and while there’s something satisfying about crossing a destination off your bucket list and visiting a country with so much culture and history to offer, let’s not front: it was one of the hardest countries I’ve ever visited. There are so many barriers (yes, including literal barriers) to entry that it’s nearly impossible to be 100% go-with-the-flow or play-it-by-ear here.

Entry visa: The Stans already are scarcely visited compared to other countries, and it doesn’t help that a lot of them require advance visas. The only thing worse than endless paperwork is the paranoia when you mail off your passport to a total stranger for an indefinite amount of time, with no clue whether or not they’ll send it back because you incorrectly filled out your host’s address.

Read More Central Asia, Part 4: Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Central Asia 2015 Travel

Happy 2016, all! I’m actually typing this from the lobby of the SSR Airport in MahĂ©bourg, as I’m finally returning to the States after a two-week trip in Mauritius and Madagascar. Bless the free wifi in this airport. Even though I’m a bit travelled-out for the time being, in the spirit of the new year, I’ve made a resolution to blog more (my 2014 and 2015 self is snorting so hard right now), among other #goals. Hope all of you have had restful and fun-filled holiday seasons. 🙂


Out of all my #lifegoals, one of them is to camp in a yurt. Yurts are perhaps second to only treehouses when it comes to ideal overnight lodging. LOOK AT THIS ARCHITECTURAL BEAUTY. How can you say no to this.

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I mean, I certainly couldn’t.

So when Rebekah and I were planning our trip, the one thing that was practically non-negotiable was horseback riding and camping out in a yurt in Kyrgzystan. We could forgo the Door to Hell because of tourist restrictions in Turkmenistan. We could save Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, &c for another trip because of distance and visa reasons. But goddamnit, we were not going to give up this one thing.

The whole affair consisted of a drive from Bishkek to Kochkor, a horseback ride from Kochkor to the yurt, and then back again. When we left Kochkor, it was a nice, sunny morning smack-dab in the middle of May:

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Read More Central Asia, Part 3: That One Time I Camped in a Yurt

Central Asia 2015 Travel