Sunday, November 16, 2008

Uzbek and Israel - FY grows wings!

Uzbek. Part 2.

Just a quick word on Samarkhand and Bukhara. Before I left Australia i had no idea where these places were. Apparently if you're a real Persian, this is embarrassing. These cities are described as heaven on earth by ancient sufi poets, have been vital centres of trade for millenia, and were instrumental in the spread of Islam through the east. Not to mention the home of the best Plov (greasy central asian rice dish) on the face of the planet.

Carlos (the spanish flight attendant- to your left.) and i spent three days roaming the streets, visting every mosque, mausoleum, maddressa we could find... (that sentence was placed there purely for aliteration sake, we also saw things that didn't start with m.)

Israel. Part 1.

FY and I took a plane from Uzbek to Istanbul. FY was 15kg overweight, together with all the other gear, she weighed in at 46kg. Luckily the good people people at Turkish airlines turned a blind eye and let us through without any troubles.

When we got to Istanbul, I booked her into storage. For the record, for the same price as one night of bicycle accomodation in a Turkish airport, you can pay for 4 days worth of food, accomodation and travel expenses in Pakistan. Welcome to Europe! (kind of)

This stop marked a clear change in conditions on this journey. I had my first real coffee in over 3 months, at a cost of 3 Pakistan days (from now on prices will be described as Pakistan Days - PD)

After a brief stop at the airport, i flew on to Israel, for a 3 day visit to the Bahai shrines in Haifa and Akka. I had the privellege of attending a 2 hour welcoming ceremony at the immigration department of Ben Gurion Airport. This unique cultural experience began with a brief conversation that went a little bit like this:

"What is your name?"
-Shervin Tosif
"You were in Pakistan"
"How long?"
-One month
"Please stand over there."

The end. Or rather, the beginning of a one hour interrogation session, Shalom!

The Bahai gardens and shrines in Haifa are exceedingly beautiful, i'll let the pictures do the explaining. (unfortunately I haven't uploaded any pictures yet, but when i do, they will explain.)

1 comment:

Ralph Phelan said...

Shervin baby!! Hope you are not too cold on your bicycle ride at this time of the year, I'm so inspired by your trip :)

I had a similar Tel Aviv airport experience to you 'Are you carrying anything you did not pack yourself'.... 'Umm, yes'...'Who gave it to you?"...'Umm Mr Ittehadi, it's tea for the pilgrims at the Shrine of......' 'Sure, sure, stand over here sir'. So an hour and a half later with my luggage in tatters I left the airport.

I'd love to catch up when you get back, Miranda and I are moving to Canada next year so let us know when we can have you over for dinner before we go.