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Dispatch #1, September 7, 2006 PDF Print E-mail
The sand danced across the asphalt in front of our minivan as we made our way across the Kyzylkum Desert (Red Sand) on a highway that follows the route of the Silk Road. The landscape was flat and mostly barren except for green bushes that stood no more than three or four feet high and grew out of the sandy soil.

Our destination is the old city of Khiva in present day Uzbekistan. Khiva came into existence somewhere along about the 8th century. It was a stop for Silk Road caravans and was perhaps best known for its slave market. The ruler of Khiva captured men, women, children and travelers in the region and sold them as slaves.
Dispatch #2, September 8, 2006 PDF Print E-mail
My introduction to Bukhura, Central Asia’s holiest city, began with a fashion show at an ancient medressa. We had been driving for more than eight hours across stretches of two deserts -- the Karakum and Kyzylkum in southern Uzbekistan and having arrived just after sunset, my two traveling companions and I decided a nice relaxing meal would re-energize us.

As we made our way into the madrassah (Islamic school), musicians were setting up in the courtyard and a stone runway covered with red carpets served as the stage directly in front of them. As they plucked and strummed their traditional instruments, tall, thin Bukharan and Russian women appeared from the right and made their way toward the runway. Their clothing was a mix of traditional and the modern. Their runway attitude and walk were straight from the Fashion Channel.