A day with Samarkand.

IMG_6533I get to Samarkand three years late. To stand in the middle of Registan and make a wish, to look up the golden dome of Gur-Emir and to wonder reading inscribed in Arabic: “A wise man let’s go of the world, before the world lets go of him”. What was a man building it must be thinking half way though the world he conquered.

Samarkand I meet is now 45 years old. A tall man in good shape already sun-kissed in May, his eyes are deep and kind, his handshake firm and his smile wide.

He is strong, but soft-spoken. Like silk still produced here, he is not fond of sharp edges, rough conversations, they might tear him apart; so he wraps around softly, convincing to go along with him.

I bring on the ride my bluntness, my loud laughter, my sharpness and bare shoulders, challenging his every way of being.

So we watch each other as we drive along with peripheral vision, noticing smirks and blinks, the differences and sudden similarities.

He is a master of reading between the lines, so he makes it easy; doesn’t ask questions, talks through the roadbumps, explains the diversity and speaks of how open-minded Samarkand always was, the city built in desert by an overly ambitious son of steppes.

He is content with his life, he played by rules most of his life; built a house, raised a family, loved his wife. She got fair skin and green eyes, a child of desert sun. He tamed his wild long time ago, but sometimes when he is in nature he remembers that he wanted a bigger life, wilder adventures and to swim in the sea.

That’s when he prays harder, remembers the Sufis and chillah, and makes plov for his family. He wonders how much time has left to be alive and to prepare for death. I wonder if we ever die, even after we leave, watching Gur Emir

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