The roadside cafe served a variety of dishes including some with vegetables in! Most places just serve plain greasy minced mutton kebab, plov, which is just a few bits of boiled mutton on a pile of greasy rice, or manty, which is a kind of greasy boiled mince and onion dumpling. We were all getting a bit fed up with eating nothing but plain greasy meat. Trouble was I had no idea what this other stuff was that was being served up or how to ask for it. It was all coming through a small hatch so I couldn't even point at what I wanted. Got some aubergine thing in the end though.
The toilets were minging, as you'd expect. We had now travelled further east than the concept of the cubicle. People don't seem to be a very good aim in this part of the world and they don't believe in ever cleaning a toilet for some reason. So what you've got is basically two large open concrete shelters full of crap and flies. Worse for women cos at least a bloke is used to using open urinals and doesnt have to squat every time.
As we approached Bukhara in dusk the landscape became farmland with a linear development of scruffy houses along the side of the road.
The bus dropped us on the outskirts of Bukhara. Taxi drivers swarmed around like flies shouting and fighting over our potential custom. I just took it really slow and pretty much ignored them while I found out the name of the place we were going to head for. The prices the taxi drivers were offering were very high. We tried negotiating. One driver told us it was 15 km into the town. I was a bit surprised and even for 15 km the price was too high. But we couldn't get them to offer any lower. Reluctantly we took a ride. It was about 3 km. We argued with him when we got there and tried to give him half the money but he wasn't having any of it. Taxi drivers in Uzbekistan are the worst!
Straight away we got hassled by a young teenager trying to get us to stay at a hotel. We had been given details of a good value guesthouse by the girl at the guesthouse in Khiva so we went to that. They were full but the kind brother there took us to a friends place where we got a good value room.
The next day we headed out to look around Bukhara.
Bukhara is the birthplace of Nasruddin Hoja. He lived in Anatolia (Turkey) in the 13th century and was a popular Sufi wise man. He is famous in Islam today because there are many short stories, about him. They are parables and light-hearted anecdotes used to convey simple spiritual teachings.
This is the Ulugbeg Medressa. It is being 'restored'. Actually, I'd call it destruction. They are ripping off all the hundreds-of-years-old mosaics and replacing them with poorly made cheap panels. Its distressing.