The shared taxi from Khiva was only thirty minutes and one dollar cost! I had chosen one of the two major hotels. The main aim was the booking of my train ticket to Kazakhstan, and organising a bus to Nukus.The train station was easy. There was no train to Nukus, that problem solved. I bought my train ticket to Kazakhstan with the help of google translator. No English was spoken. In the struggle for meaningful communication, I forgot to book a FIRST CLASS ticket! Or a sleeper! Such is life! Received the ticket. Had a pot of green tea, and walked back to my hotel. About three kilometres.
On the way I encountered a Russian Orthodox Church, it’s golden dome was shining in the sun. I was surprised to see it open, and reluctantly entered ( I was wearing shorts and a tank top!) no problems. I took lots of photos, and bought a small item of somebody, whose name I have forgotten, I was looking for Saint Michael, he was only behind glassy frames, no good to travel with. I also bought a ring with a Russian inscription. Will have this translated some where.
I visited a ramshackle museum, I guess it was about Zoroastrians, it was hard to tell. The old man, who did all the explaining in Russian, invited me for lunch. After my huge breakfast , I was most certainly NOT hungry, but I have been here long enough to know that refusing is NOT an option! He never caught on I spoke no Russian. I have this trick, I used for the first time in Costa Rica with a four year old. Just repeat every last word you hear and as long as nobody asks a direct questions people never catch on that you don’t speak their language! The woman, the cleaning lady I assume and her ten year old son, a staunch Christiano Ronaldo supporter, joined us for lunch. The poor lad was forced to speak more English than he could! Beyond hello, what is your name the people here don’t speak or understand English.
I met some teenage girls, on the way to a monument. They put nail polish on my nails. Chatted away, and then one of them demanded money! This was so incredibly unusual, I have not heard this in the last three months! So the answer was no! One of the girls suggested an ice cream, and I thought that was a fair exchange. They took me to a near by shopping centre.
It was huge. Hoping to find a travel agent there, (to book my flight to Georgia, as my I pad won’t let me book one,) I saw every corner of this huge place. Finally on the top floor , the ice cream parlour. We all enjoyed a nice time. There was a play floor, like a shooting gallery, something like that, the kids wanted a photo with me, also fine by me, then it became an issue, the tall one wanted to play on all the games, I figured a big ice cream and a photo was a fair enough exchange for the nail polish!
The eldest started to pout, a habit which I find very unflattering, so first I ignored, then when she chucked a wobbly at the toy shop, I told her to stop it. The younger but more mature one, reprimanded her. They wanted to walk me back to my hotel, I told them with my maps, I knew how to find it! So go home. They kept on walking pushing me towards the wrong hotel, getting a tad shitty, I told them again GO home! They kept on coming. We arrived at the wrong hotel, and by now my patience left me! GO HOME! The pout princes demanded money for a taxi, didn’t take NO for an answer, until I let go. They might not have understood a word I said, but they sure got my drift! Thirty years in Special Education and these teens think they can turn my NO into a YES ? Fat change, babes, I have worked with the worst of the worst, shame though, but I am not a “tourist chicken”, ready for the plucking!
There was terribly little to do in Urgench, so a visit to the local bazaar and bus station, was a highlight. I met a lovely young woman, Malika, who was stirring an huge pot. It was Nishola, a sweet made from the mountain tree, which name Malika forgot. I am assuming it was the tree bark, with egg whites and sugar, all boiled together into this, teeth rattling sugary sweet, which is served like jam.
Malika also told me I could catch a taxi to Khiva, near the bus station. A taxi driver walked by and we agreed to him picking me up at eight am. To take me in a shared taxi to Khiva. I walked on in the extreme heat, and found a game park. Lovely place, for young people. Great artificial lake and a huge playground. I met a lovely woman, a mother of five, four girls and the last one a little boy. He was a twin! Time to move on! To Nukus!