Final Day in Samarkand

I had a fairly restful final day in Samarkand today. The main objective for the day was to get the Defender filled with diesel, after being told that not all filling stations sell diesel and not all filling stations actually have fuel for sale on a given day. It turned out to be a relatively easy process. I used the Garmin to identify locations of fuel stations and began driving to them, one at a time. The first two stations only sell gasoline/petrol/benzine but the third station had diesel for sale.

Within a minute, there was a group of five men gathered around me at the fuel pump, asking about the Defender and about my journey. They were all amazed that I would be travelling alone. The guy working at the station said they occasionally get groups of tourists in vehicles stopping for fuel but they have never had a solo traveller before. Anyway, the tank was filled and I was relieved of a couple of those wads of money – 222,000 som ($76) for 60 litres of diesel.

A woman invited me to photograph her son - then asked for money to feed him!
A woman invited me to photograph her son – then asked for money to feed him!

The Defender was taken back to the B&B and tucked back into the courtyard and then I wandered back through the bazaar for a while before heading back to the Registan, to look for a few souvenirs.

A vendor with a tower of snuff, decorated with snuff bottles and containers
A vendor with a tower of snuff, decorated with snuff bottles and containers
Fresh berry juice served in the bazaar - very good!
Fresh berry juice served in the bazaar – very good!

People can enter the area of the Registan from all four sides, but there is only one kiosk selling tickets, so many visitors don’t pay. But when the uniformed security guards see someone taking photos, they challenge them for their ticket. After buying a couple of souvenirs and taking a couple more photos, I was on my way out of the complex when the guard smugly challenged me for my ticket. I pulled out the ticket I’d bought two days earlier and handed it to him. Confused, he showed it to the equally confused woman at the kiosk, who was apparently sure I didn’t have a ticket. Perhaps they should upgrade from the current slips of paper printed on a computer to actual tickets that are date-stamped 🙂

Ceiling of a room in the Registan where a vendor sells carpets!
Ceiling of a room in the Registan where a vendor sells carpets!
A parting photo of the Registan
A parting photo of the Registan

England’s final World Cup game is this evening at 9.00pm, so I’ll try to find a cafe that is showing the game. Tomorrow I drive to the city of Bukhara to see more incredible historical sites.

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