Wednesday, July 12, 2006


A big pile of pancakes for breakfast at my homestay! I walked the 30 minutes down town clutching my distended stomach.

Osh is a very old town. It recently celebrated its 3000 aniversary. There's a local saying that Osh is older than Rome. Unfortunately there's nothing like Rome's past sitting around Osh. Still there is a shrine that the Prophet Mohammed supposedly prayed at & a house that was lived in by Babur, the founder of the Moghul Empire that ruled a substantial part of India.

The lack of major historical sites didn't detract from the general charm of the town. My homestay was 30 minutes walk from the centre. It, like many other places that I passed on the walk, wasn't a very old house but was based on a very charming traditional design. The houses had large front gates onto the street. Sometimes the gate were carved wood. On the inside the gateway lead to the middle of a courtyard. Various rooms for cooking, sleeping, lounging & storage etc surrounded this courtyard. In the case of my homestay the courtyard had a canopy of grapevines that was heavy with fruit, unfortunately I was a month too early to give them a taste. Under the grapevines were a couple of examples of the Central Asian couch, a raised platform looking a bit like an old style kingsize 4 poster bed without a mattress with a railing around 3 sides. On this there were carpets & cushions & sitting in the middle of it was a small table, though this table wasn't always present. The idea was to get onto the platform lean against the railing. Later in summer evenings the platform transforms into a place for the male members of the household.

Charming as it was in summer, though it wasn't very warm for summer. It would be a bit of a pain when cold as going from one room to another required entering the unheatable courtyard. The homestay owner talked of his desire to rebuild the house into a European-style villa.

The centre of Osh was nothing special but it had lots of places to get Internet access & most importantly there was lots & lots of food about, including a cafй that sold baklava! There was a huge bazaar that had my eyes popping at the variety of food available. After eating so poorly for most of the time in Tajikistan it was difficult to not buy everything in sight.

I cycled 0 km

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