Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Georgia on my Mind

Dear travellers and readers,

I have relocated to Tbilisi, Georgia, to start a new and creative life in the Caucasus.


All the posts will remain on this website, and, should you wish to visit Central Asia, I will be pleased to provide contact details of my excellent travel partners in Tashkent and Bishkek. They are 100% professional and trustworthy. Plus they know my favourite artisans and special places.

Thank you all for your company during the tours and your support of Central Asian artisans over the last 10 years.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Snow Leopards in Kyrgyzstan: Ghosts in the Snow

kyrgyzstan snow leopards conservation, snow leopards in kyrgyzstan mountains

Kyrgyzstan has emerged as a leader in snow leopard conservation on the political stage. 
It hosted the first Global Snow Leopard conference in 2013, which gave rise to the Global Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection Program, the first joint initiative to save the snow leopard by all 12 range countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Russia, and Uzbekistan

BBC Earth has released four outstanding videos showing how this impoverished nation has brought Snow Leopards back from the brink of extinction - and indeed they are making a real comeback. 

Bravo Kyrgyzstan!

Part #1

Part #2
Part #3

Part #4 

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Sunday, January 24, 2021

The Demise of the Tashkent Metro Token

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Metal metro token in use 1992 - 1993
The Tashkent metro is a splendid underground art gallery. You can happily spend a day hopping on and off the stations to admire the mosaics, ceramics and light fittings.

A token was 1400 soums - about 15 cents. Provided you didn't exit you could travel the entire system on just one token. (However, not exiting means that you may miss some of the decorated entrances which are sometimes as striking as the platform art).

Since opening in 1977, travel tickets on the metro have ranged from paper tickets, metal tokens and finally plastic tokens. 

Effective 1 November 2020, a single transport payment card has been introduced for travel on the metro and buses. The tokens are no longer accepted.

The cost of a card with contactless NFC technology is 11,000 soums, about $1 and includes the cost of one trip.

Of course I understand why this system has been introduced. Yet I am sentimental. I was charmed buying the tokens at the Kassa from the always cheery sellers and inserting the token into a rather antiquated, clunky turnstile.

Talented designer and Uzbek Journeys client, Dana Davies, once bought a stockpile of the blue plastic tokens, added green and white beads and voila - wonderful drop earrings in the colours of the Uzbek flag. What a fabulous souvenir. I frequently wore mine when I travelled on the Tashkent metro. When other passengers noticed them they were always so surprised and pleased.

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Samples of Dana Davies' Tashkent Metro earring designs
Dana has a few pairs of earrings available. Please contact her on caravanthology[a]icloud.com if you would like a special piece of Tashkent history. I treasure my pair.

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tashkent metro new turnstiles, tashkent metro ticket system
The new metro turnstiles for the new transport cards