Day 9: Saturday, 22 April – Samarkand, Uzbekistan (39.6508° N, 66.9654° E)

Today is Earth Day 2023. The 52nd year in a row…My whole life Earth Day has been a big deal, and yet…

Ancient Samarkand, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world (about 7th century BCE) has the tile work here guaranteed to leave you astonished. Registan Square (aka Ensemble) & Gur-Emir Mausoleum will leave you amazed. And last night’s clear sky, stars a shimmering, will leave you in awe.

Today, is our last day in Uzbekistan. We are taking the Afrosiyob Express, a high-speed (240 kmph) train, back to Tashkent in a few hours. (Yes, they have high-speed trains in this part of the world! Don’t they everywhere?) It will take two hours. It took ancient Silk Road caravans about eight days. Times have changed. Teams will be checking in tonight back in Tashkent…and it should be revelatory.

Beware tile fatigue…it’s real.
Did you know, that according to a (30 Aug 2015) New York Times survey*, that:
● 13% of Americans had visited 5 or fewer countries
● 24% of Americans had visited 5-9 countries
● 25% of Americans had visited 10-14 countries
● 15% of Americans had visited 15-19 countries
● and 23% of Americans had visited 20 or more countries
BTW: 85% of US travelers take trips to places they have already been to…and Mexico, Jamaica, Canada, the United Kingdom & Italy were the five most popular foreign locales.
* I would love to see a recent poll, because frankly, I don’t believe this poll. Do you?

So, we have a winner of the Team Challenge Four-Legged Beastie…Team Hem & Haw were first!

We have news filtered that most Teams are already back in Tashkent as I write this, but a few are still lingering about in far off places…I hope they weren’t too greedy? Personally, we have seen Teams here on the streets of Tashkent, a Team getting to Bukhara (and know of another that got there) and seen three other Teams in Samarkand. But one or two Teams are off the grid…as they should be.

Bar Setters, Free 2B, Mom’s on the Run & Cubs Fans sharing a ride to Samarkand.

BTW: Every one of us now know all about an amazing holiday–Eid al-Fitr–that celebrates the end of Ramadan that over two billion people across the planet celebrate!

This difficult Uzbekistan Par 4 leg, will end this evening at our 9:00PM hotel check in. So we will have more information about all the Teams & our next destination tomorrow. Please stay tuned…

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