Destination: Uzbekistan

The Rise of Silk Road Tourism in Uzbekistan

The Rise of Silk Road Tourism in Uzbekistan Photo by Gusjer via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Gusjer via Flickr (Creative Commons)

In the Wall Street Journal, Patrick Barta takes a look at the emerging tourism scene in Uzbekistan’s three great Silk Road cities, Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, and what the long-ignored country is doing to adapt to the new visitors. The accompanying slideshow has me sold—Uzbekistan is officially on my list.

On Asia: Points East

On Asia: Points East iStockPhoto
Shibuya, Tokyo. iStockphoto.

If this is indeed the “Asian century,” count me as an early adopter. I’ve quit two full-time jobs to explore the world’s most diverse continent, and they were the two best decisions I’ve ever made. To an Asia hand, the lavender fields of Provence might be pleasant, but it’s the chanting of novice monks, the mystical tinkling of the gamelan, a bowl of spicy dan dan noodles that really get the blood pumping. I’m drawn back, again and again, and I don’t know if I’ll ever kick the habit.

My (unlikely) introduction to Asia began in arid, post-Soviet Uzbekistan in the late ‘90s. As soon as my conference in Tashkent wrapped up, I hopped a bus to the Silk Road city of Samarkand, where blue-tiled madrassas dazzled against an azure sky. They were like nothing I’d seen, a window into an ancient time when Tamerlane traipsed across the steppes.

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War Zones for Idiots

War Zones for Idiots Photo courtesy Tom Bissell

The "World Series of Journalism" had begun in Afghanistan, and Tom Bissell didn't have to qualify to play. He just had to show up.

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