My Life Journey

Central Asia: Postcards from “The ‘Stan Tour”

In 2014, I did a trip to Central Asia, hitting up Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. That area is definitely off the beaten North American traveller path, so when I told people about my trip, the most common reaction was “huh?” A coworker dubbed it “the ‘Stan tour” (-stan is a Persian suffix meaning land/place).


I did a 2 1/2 day horse trekking/yurt camping extravaganza in Kyrgyzstan. The picture shows me smiling next to a horse, but the smile hides the fact that I hated that horse. He was slow as fuck, so I was trailing way behind everyone else. He had no interest in doing anything I tried to get him to do. My ass hurt so much I could barely walk.

The yurt pictures are from night #2, when I was in the tourist yurt all by myself. The picture in the top right was the washing station, which was actually quite the nifty contraption.


Turqoise mosque dome in Uzbekistan

There’s some amazing architecture in that part of the world. Like the onion domes that characterize Russian Orthodox churches, mosques from a particular historical period in Central Asia have these gorgeous turquoise domes.

Some mosques and mausoleums had some amazing interior decoration. The photo below is taken standing in a little alcove area in the Gur-e Amir ะกomplex in Samarkand, looking up at the ceiling.

inside a mosque in Samarkand, Uzbekistan
couple getting wedding photos done in a park in Uzbekistan

I was there during wedding season, which meant lots of brides-to-be in big, pouffy dresses with big, pouffy hair and lots of makeup and annoyed-looking grooms out and about getting photos taken.

author and young girl in Kazakhstan

I’ve shown this picture before. I spent all day waiting for a bus at a Kazakh popsicle stand, and some kids adopted me. This was one of them.

Somewhere in Kyrgyzstan, I think there’s a husband-to-be, a yurt, and a pouffy wedding dress waiting for me. A girl can dream, right?

32 thoughts on “Central Asia: Postcards from “The ‘Stan Tour””

  1. What an amazing adventure! I loved seeing your photos ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel sorry for horses in general though. If I had to lug around humans all day, every day, I’d be bored & pissed off too. I’ve not ridden on one so actually a slow as fuck horse is probably what I’d be looking for. Will you be going back one day to get adopted by more children, find a faster horse, find your husband & pouffy dress and ride off into the sunset?

  2. Heck yeah! You need to go back to Kyrgyzstan (which I copy/pasted without even trying to spell) and find those things!! YAY!!

    I love the photo of you with the horse, and the one with you and the little girl!! And the Uzbekistan architecture is gorgeous! Great shots!

  3. Hahaaa. Ashley your smile in the donkey picture looks a little fake there. A touch of pissy smile goin’ on. I don’t think you were hiding your irritation as much as you thought. ๐Ÿ˜†Love the photo of you and the little girl. You look so happy ๐Ÿ™‚.

    1. Or, excuse me – horse, not donkey. It’s pretty evident that I was too busy looking at you to notice the animal. Ha.

    2. I hated that stupid horse. I think it was intentionally trying to cause me as much pain as possible. Maybe the guide put him up to it. I was too sore to do any sort of graceful dismount, so I basically fell off the horse and into the gropy hands of the guide.

      1. If / when you get better on the depression front, you deserve a pleasant ride in a beautiful country that you’ve never been to before. I’m sorry about the guide groping you. It sounds like you’ve had a few unpleasant encounters with creepers in your travels. Sheesh.

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