During our tour of Nairobi, Kenya, an English man told me and Ogie of a beautiful blue mosque somewhere in Central Asia ( likened if not more beautiful than the Taj Mahal).
This gave motivation for Ogie and me to visit the place if circumstances would allow. Luckily, our travel agent was able to make arrangements to visit the place. We would be joining a chartered flight comprised of students in secondary schools from London.
Prior to our trip, I had a misconception that the place would not be that cold as it was a part of Central Asia ( and “Asia” connotes a warm and temperate place) prompting me not to bring any heavy clothings.
Contrary to my expectations, it was extremely cold thus brother Ogie was compelled to rely only on his upper suit to withstand the coldness as he unselfishly lent me his sweater until I was able to finally find a colorful loafer in the public market. It became my usual attire in subsequent numerous travels in cold areas as it provided me with psychological get up to aspire to see more exotic places as the same originated from an exotic place.
The ambiance of the place from my perception is reminiscent of Genghis Khan days gathered in books and movies. I was told it was part of the Silk Route.
The blue mosque as recommended by the Englishman is indeed resplendent though it needed restorations.
It was my first time to experience Turkish bath. After undressing, I remained in the state of nudity for a long while amidst suppressed laughters as I could not find the place where towels were kept.
It was my first time also to visit a place which was utilized as a harem, providing me with the idea that the then rulers were privileged as they could indulge in tension-relieving activities with varied subjects under the noble objective of satisfying a fertility program to propagate the members of the royal family.
I learned also of the existence of eunuchs (who are castrated thus sexually harmless) whose main function is to guard the harem. I learned also that belly dancing was a predominant part of their leisurely presentations.
We went also to Bukhara where I bought an antique clothing, headdress and a small traditional violin measuring about five inches.
While witnessing the structure housing a former harem, I saw several detached tiles (with floral design) disparately spread over the area. I retrieved one of them for my private museum. I took the same and prayed that we would not be caught by the custom people during our departure. Thanks to God as it is presently displayed at the museum for a noble cause.
During mornings, when we took the early morning walks, we saw big crows hovering and landing at our walkways. When we visit public markets, we saw, among others, beautiful and expensive hats made up of young skin of lambs.
These and other things constitute the once in a lifetime journey.