Saturday, April 14, 2012

Central Asia: Dreaming of Stan

We first met when I saw the movie "Borat".

Remember the quirky reporter who wore a screaming neon green bikini, er man-kini? His zany journalism style brought out the best (uhm, most of the time worst) in American ethics. This movie displays Borat's "cultural learnings of America for make benefit glorious nation of Kazakhstan".

KazakhSTAN? I never knew there was such a country! 

Fast forward two years.

We welcomed a petite visitor from Taiwan who arrived Vigan with her backpack and tent. She had just come back from Central Asia with awesome stories of hitchhiking in trucks and pitching her tent in strangers' fields. Sometimes, these strangers would even be kind enough to let her in their homes and offer her a warm meal! Because Central Asia is mostly Muslims and Buddhists, her photos of the mosques and architecture was enough to fuel my penchant for anything off-the-beaten. 

Amir Timur Mosque, Persian Architecture, Dome

I instantly googled Central Asia and met the other cousins: these former USSR nations have now become UzbekiSTAN, TajikiSTAN, KyrgyzSTAN, and TurkmeniSTAN

Central Asia map

Although Central Asia is stark and austere, a desert, with the mountains serving as a barrier, it still is at the MIDDLE of the ancient world. 

Being at the middle meant it was necessary for people to pass through it to get to the other side. And they brought along with them products to trade to the other side. Silk traveled from East Asia or Middle East to Europe. Spices traveled from East Asia or Southeast Asia to the Middle East. Fur from Russia or Mongolia traveled to Europe, et cetera.

spices from SouthEast Asia travel to Europe

Russian or Mongolia fur travel to Europe or Middle East

Eventually, the cultures blended as well. In Central Asia, one would find a mix of children with Mongolian features or children with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Mongol children, and Kyrgyz family

As of this writing, I am only living vicariously through photos I see and stories I read on the internet, hoping one day that I will finally meet the Stan of my dreams!

This is Cheap Travel for Women's entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers' March 2012 Blog Carnival themed "My Ultimate Dream Destination".

Hosted by Robx, The Travelling Dork.

CLICK on the Carnival Logo to read the other PTB Blog Carnival themes and entries.


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