Tea growing near Pu Mat National Park at Con Cuong, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Con Cuong (Pu Mat National Park), Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

One last walk around Bukhara, and then the train to Samarkand

It was quite hot on Monday with a high of 29C (84F). So although we didn't do too much, we decided to walk into the more modern section of town outside the tourist area. There's not really a lot to see. I think on an overall basis, we enjoyed Khiva more than Bukhara. 

Our train was departing at 4:06pm, and the train station is quite far from the central area, so we had to be back at the guest house by 2:00pm.

Even outside the central area, they had some information signs...

Sponsored by Coca Cola!

This modern looking place doesn't quite fit in!

We figured out that these odd looking towers are actually the lights for a big football (soccer) stadium.

Big statue.

Not sure who it is though!

In Uzbekistan, you can buy a lot of different cars.
But it will probably be a Chevrolet!

And most of them are actually built here in Uzbekistan under an agreement with General Motors. In fact, Uzbekistan is the third largest market for Chevrolet products after USA and Brazil. They control 94% market share here. Toyota is probably the next most popular, but far behind the Chevy!

Back at the guest house, we said goodbye to our hosts, and waited out front with our bags. Then I opened the Yandex-Go app on my phone, and requested a car.

Yandex-Go is exactly the same as Uber in this part of the world. It's very similar it that you input where you want to go, and it calculates a price based on your current GPS position. So much better than a normal taxi!

It was going to be about 16 kms (10 miles) to the train station.

And what was the calculated price for our taxi ride?

25,000 SOM ($2.05 USD, $2.80 CAD).

I knew in advance that taxis are dirt cheap here in Uzbekistan. In fact, this is the 4th cheapest place in the world to order a cab. 

9 minutes later, a guy pulls up in a tiny yellow car and takes us to the train station. It was about a half hour ride, and Ruth and I were both thinking "how can these guys make any money?" And there are so many of them on the road. But, we noticed that there isn't much of a public transportation system, so they are busy non stop. Although, we also see a lot of them just standing around, as taxis tend to do. So who knows. I guess they must make enough to make it worth their while.

At the train station, we had about an hour wait, but that was fine. We had bought our tickets in advance online, and had guaranteed seats.

And we had a nice shaded area outside to sit and wait.

On the train to Samarkand.

The train was fairly modern. Even with USB Charge ports between the seats. They have two different types of trains, one of which is a high speed one. That one always sells out in advance, so we had the slow train. But even the slow train got up to 120 km/h (74 mph), so that's not bad.

The price for the two of us for the two and a half hour trip was 160,000 SOM ($13 USD, $18 CAD). There is a reason the train is a popular way to travel here!

Arrived at Samarkand.

Once again, we ordered a Yandex-Go driver for the ride to the guest house. That was another two bucks or so. Still can't get over how cheap it is.

This is the first time I've used Airbnb to book accommodation here. Booking dot com has much more choice. But I noticed a new listing on Airbnb and they were giving a big discount to the first three customers. Then, I noticed the same guest house had been on booking dot com for a couple of years and they had decent reviews. So I guess they are just trying to make a name for themselves on Airbnb as well.

At $22.75 CAD ($16.40 USD) a night, for three nights, it's a deal!

Not bad. Separate beds again!

The bathroom has a heated floor!

We got settled, then went out to find somewhere to eat.

This mausoleum is almost right outside our front door!

Very spectacular entranceway lit up at night.

Yes, we are in Samarkand.

We found a restaurant that looked good, but we were afraid it was too good. We got there and it was fancier than I expected. So we asked to have a look at the menu before they seated us. It was a little more than we wanted to pay, but not by much, and it was starting to get late and we were hungry.

I've been enjoying trying some Russian beers.
This one was 19,000 SOM ($1.55 USD, $2.15 CAD).

I had chicken curry.

And Ruth had chicken tandori, but she thought is was an awfully small chicken. 
Maybe a pheasant? Or a cornish hen? Or maybe just a really small chicken.

I had two beer and Ruth had two glasses of wine. The final bill including a 15% service charge was 283,000 SOM ($23 USD, $32 CAD).

Next up, wandering around Samarkand.

Record low deal on the Shark Cordless Stick Vac for Pets.

And in Canada...

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