July – August 2008

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Intro

Ever since the Soviet Union crumbled back in 1991, I’ve had an itching fascination for the newest countries in the world at the time — the unknown, unpronounceable, underappreciated… ‘stans.

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.  How cool.  Of all the countries in the world, these were the hardest for me to remember their capitals.  Finally, the time had come to tackle them, capitals and all.

Five difficult, lonely land border crossings across the Silk Road countries of Central Asia, with the prize of extraordinarily grand and graceful monuments;  a curious Asian-European-Mideastern mix of language, food, music, people and culture;  and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.

Following the adventure of a lifetime, I continued on to China, coordinating my trip with the beginning of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.  An (almost) equally thrilling experience.  Shanghai, China’s most populous and cosmopolitan city, was my last stop on a truly epic trip across Asia!

Journey Map

    LocationArrivalDeparture
    1Hong Kong, Hong KongJuly 24, 2008July 24, 2008
    2Shenzhen, ChinaJuly 24, 2008July 24, 2008
    3Hong Kong, Hong KongJuly 24, 2008July 25, 2008
    4Istanbul, TurkeyJuly 25, 2008July 25, 2008
    5Izmir, TurkeyJuly 25, 2008July 25, 2008
    6Ephesus, TurkeyJuly 25, 2008July 25, 2008
    7Selçuk, TurkeyJuly 25, 2008July 25, 2008
    8Izmir, TurkeyJuly 25, 2008July 25, 2008
    9Istanbul, TurkeyJuly 25, 2008July 26, 2008
    10Ashgabat, TurkmenistanJuly 26, 2008July 27, 2008
    11Dashoguz, TurkmenistanJuly 27, 2008July 27, 2008
    12Köneürgench, TurkmenistanJuly 27, 2008July 27, 2008
    13Shavat, UzbekistanJuly 27, 2008July 27, 2008
    14Khiva, UzbekistanJuly 27, 2008July 28, 2008
    15Urgench, UzbekistanJuly 28, 2008July 28, 2008
    16Turtkul, UzbekistanJuly 28, 2008July 28, 2008
    17Bukhara, UzbekistanJuly 28, 2008July 30, 2008
    18Shahrisabz, UzbekistanJuly 30, 2008July 30, 2008
    19Samarkand, UzbekistanJuly 30, 2008August 1, 2008
    20Panjakent, TajikistanAugust 1, 2008August 1, 2008
    21Ayni, TajikistanAugust 1, 2008August 1, 2008
    22Varzob, TajikistanAugust 1, 2008August 1, 2008
    23Dushanbe, TajikistanAugust 1, 2008August 2, 2008
    24Hisor, TajikistanAugust 2, 2008August 2, 2008
    25Dushanbe, TajikistanAugust 2, 2008August 3, 2008
    26Khujand, TajikistanAugust 3, 2008August 3, 2008
    27Tashkent, UzbekistanAugust 3, 2008August 5, 2008
    28Turkestan, KazakhstanAugust 5, 2008August 5, 2008
    29Shymkent, KazakhstanAugust 5, 2008August 6, 2008
    30Almaty, KazakhstanAugust 6, 2008August 7, 2008
    31Tokmok, KyrgyzstanAugust 7, 2008August 7, 2008
    32Bishkek, KyrgyzstanAugust 7, 2008August 8, 2008
    33Istanbul, TurkeyAugust 8, 2008August 8, 2008
    34Edirne, TurkeyAugust 8, 2008August 8, 2008
    35Istanbul, TurkeyAugust 8, 2008August 9, 2008
    36Beijing, ChinaAugust 9, 2008August 11, 2008
    37Shanghai, ChinaAugust 11, 2008August 12, 2008

    Featured Image

    Xiaolongbao, Shanghai, China

    Enjoying delicious xiaolongbao (soup-filled dumplings) in Shanghai. These delectable dumplings instantly became one of my favorite foods, and was the perfect way to end my dumpling-tasting trip through Central Asia!

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    Sketches

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