By Christopher Aslan Alexander
The Silk highway conjures photographs of the unique and the unknown. such a lot travelers easily move alongside it. Brit Chris Alexander selected to stay there. Ostensibly writing a guidebook, Alexander stumbled on existence on the middle of the glittering madrassahs, mosques and minarets of the walled urban of Khiva - a distant wasteland oasis in Uzbekistan - immensely pleasing, and stayed. Immersing himself within the language and wealthy cultural traditions Alexander discovers an international torn among Marx and Mohammed - a spot the place veils and vodka, beef and polygamy freely mingle - opposed to a backdrop of forgotten carpet designs, crumbling yet fantastic Islamic structure and scenes drawn immediately from "The Arabian Nights". observed by way of a wide eco-friendly parrot, a ginger cat and his adoptive Uzbek relatives, Alexander recounts his efforts to rediscover the misplaced paintings of conventional weaving and dyeing, and the method setting up a self-sufficient carpet workshop, utilising neighborhood ladies and disabled humans to coach as apprentices. "A Carpet journey to Khiva" sees Alexander being stripped bare at a former Soviet formative years camp, crawling via silkworm droppings in an try to checklist their life-cycle, holed up within the British Museum researching carpet designs dormant for part a millennia, tackling a carpet-thieving mayor, distinguishing traditional dyes from sacks of opium in Northern Afghanistan, bluffing his manner via an impromptu model of "My middle Will pass On" for nationwide Uzbek television and looking sanctuary as an anti-Western insurrection fed on the Kabul carpet bazaar. it really is an unforgettable precise shuttle tale of a trip to the center of the unknown and the unforeseen friendship one guy came across there.
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Extra info for Carpet Ride to Khiva
On top of this the government continually harassed them, accusing them not only of abandoning Islam but also, paradoxically, of being Islamic militants.
Unfortunately they chose the coldest winter for decades and soon their army was decimated by scurvy, snow-blindness, hypothermia and wolves. Eventually they turned back, suffering massive casualties without even a glimpse of the walled city. It was clear that the Russians would not admit defeat, and the English stationed in Persia dispatched Captain Abbot to Khiva, hoping he could persuade Allah Kuli Khan to release the Russian slaves (now a mere 300 or so) and destroy any pretext for another invasion.
Anyway, I was too busy, the only daughter-in-law in the house, cooking and cleaning and then weaving carpets late into the night. My mother-in-law was a hard woman, and I was more submissive than the other daughters-in-law who joined us later. ’ Having shown my photos of home to Koranbeg, he rummaged in a wardrobe for a large plastic bag containing an ageing army photo album. During his two years of army service he had, like most Uzbeks, been sent to other parts of the Soviet Union. His tank unit in Kazakhstan all got frostbite in the subzero temperatures, and it was here that he learnt to drink vodka, eat pork and speak Russian.