Saturday, 12 June 2010

3000 miles away

3023 miles to be precise. I am lying on a comfy sofa, clicking away on my computer; Fashion TV is murmuring on the background (good motivation technique not to eat in the evening :-), yet everything feels different, everything IS different. I am in some other dimension, another era, a different planet.

I am in Alexandria Eschate (English meaning "Alexandria the Farthest"), the final destination of Alexander the Great. Alexandria Eskhata was founded by Alexander III of Macedon in August 329 BCE as his most northerly base in Central Asia. Alexander built a 6 kilometer brick wall around the city which, according to the ancient authors, was completed in only about twenty days.

Nowadays Khojent is a modern city, but it’s history continues to live in folk tales, in the architecture, and, of course, on the markets.

Here I am, at one of the biggest markets of Sogdian region - "Panjshanbe" (The name translates from Farsi as "Thursday").

Ground floor is occupied by food merchants. Here one can buy warm bread, vegetables and fruit, meat, flour, nuts, honey and oils.

Arches of the first floor are thousands of little shops where I got lost immediately. Carpets, iPods (for 20 USD), real and fake diamonds, hairproducts and DVD players…you can find almost anything here.  
I don't need diamonds today; I am here to look at people. Tajiks are full of life, even in the midst of the heat (which is rather impressive- the heat, I mean). They are curious and willing to strike a conversation, they laugh and make jokes. Women are more reserved and shy. 

Most women wear calf-long colorful dresses and matching pants underneath. Hair is normally covered with a scarf (or two, depending on the degree of religiousness). Many young and middle age women dress in “European” clothes, skirts and business suits. 98 % of population is very tolerent, something to learn and copy from, perhaps?.. 

Everyone can find something for the soul here. I found beautiful mosaics. I have seen them many times as a child, but now they have a special meaning to me…

"...Flat baskets full of fruit and vegetables arranged with a fine sense of design, of decorative art and harmonies. Strings of chili hang from the rafters. The scent of saffron, and rythmes of Chagall-colored laundry hanging like banners from windows, and in gardens. Warmth falls from the sky like the fleeciest blanket. Even the night comes without a change of temperature or alteration in the softless of the air. You can trust the night." (Anais Nin)

Good night and good Sunday, everyone.

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