Uzbekistan: Land of the golden smile, and the monobrow

The Uzbeks like their tea sweet. Very sweet. You see hunks of crystallised sugar for sale wherever you go. You see it in huge, tumbling piles in bazaars, or in deep filled boxes in shops.

It seems that by middle age most adults have a set of golden gnashers.  It’s not uncommon to see them on younger people too. I think partly it’s the sugar, but it’s also a status symbol.  When speaking, I found it hard not to be mesmerised by their golden mouth.  When you’re used to seeing white teeth, the gold makes the mouth seem very dark.

Uzbek_Lady_with_Gold_TeethMany of the women in Uzbekistan, particularly in Samarkand, wear wonderful, colourful dresses. Sequins and diamanté are stitched into the pattern, it shimmers in the sunlight, dazzling your eyes. I felt very dowdy and underdressed in my quick-dry t-shirt and walking sandals. Not at all feminine.

Some women sport a fetching monobrow. I asked our guide, Bek, about it. It’s Tajik fashion and apparently it’s drawn on, though on some it looked very authentic.

I even saw one on a two year old girl. I’m assuming it was drawn on…but you never know!

Turkmenistan: An unwelcome guest tries to join me on my first night bush camping

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The route: Istanbul to Singapore

The overland trip would take six months.  It starts in Turkey and finishes in Singapore.  One third of our time would be spent camping.

However, it’s hard to camp much after Kyrgyzstan, so little camping would be done after this country, just a few nights in Tibet. So really, we camp 50% of the time until we enter China.

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Beauty on the road: ‘Luxury’ products I just had to bring travelling

I’ve put luxury in quotes for a reason.  If I was back home these items wouldn’t be on my luxury list, but when you’re travelling what counts as luxury takes on a whole new meaning.  Examples are: a flushing toilet (if you can sit on it, even better), a shower that actually gets you wet and doesn’t hurt you, bedding that doesn’t have the imprint of the previous occupant, or their hair! I know, I’m fussy.

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Me, sporting the Glam Glow Mud Mask

I’ve read lots of blogs of people who travel (it seems) with  nothing but a Lush solid shampoo bar. I’m afraid I’m just not like that. At home, I had a bathroom cabinet chock-full of moisturisers, oils, masks, cleansers, serums etc.  I’ve struggled to leave that life behind, so I keep a little bit of it with me in the form of these products. There are other products I thought about adding, such as face masks, (despite my experience in Bali) but they’re not a luxury, they’re an essential! Below are three things I guess I could go without but choose not too, despite being on the road.


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5 products that keep your feet happy whilst travelling

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Weird toes, all the same length, freak.

We lived in Australia until I was almost 10.  My brother, who is 5 years younger than me, desperately wanted cracked feet like his friend.  My mother kept trying to tell him that actually he didn’t, that cracks are painful.  He didn’t understand the pain. Nor did I, until I got a crack on my heel, 35 years later.

The timing couldn’t have been worse.   I’d spent 4 weeks living in slippers at my parents’ recuperating from surgery.  I’d finally managed to move home, but still had to take it easy for another couple of weeks.  When I was finally ready, and able, to pack up my house, pack my bag and leave, it struck. It was just a small crack on one of my heels, but it was debilitating.   Continue reading