We went to the Registan at 6am to honour our meeting with the guard and following some surprisingly successful bartering, climbed up tight collimasson stairs to the top of one of the four minarets. As a very backhanded activity, the guard continually told us to be quiet and not tell his boss, but for the sights we saw and the subsequent visits of the three superb buildings whose ticket prices had previously stunned us, the £5 we spent between three of us provided a terrific first hour of our day.
We watched the sun rise over the distant hills from the minaret and the shadows shorten and cross the face of the tiled façades below. If you are ever in this part of the world, we highly recommend it! After another great breakfast with generous servings of honey, Alex and I rode 15km out of town to try and catch a lift towards Dushanbe to meet my girlfriend in time to fit with our rushed plans.
Unfortunately, Uzbekistan is littered with YPX, Yol Patrol Xidmeti, or police checkpoints, which seem to terrify the drivers if they carry a passenger, especially if they are not simple to kick out with a large bike in the back! Twinned with a very limited supply of lorries, this made our task very difficult and the plan changed. I decided to catch a train, however rare they are, while Alex rode off into the distance armed with a four man tent all to himself!
I headed back into town and after a ninety minute, five man queue (of sorts) emerged with a ticket for what I think is a night train at 22:15 this evening. Annoyingly, this does not bring me any closer to Dushanbe, but puts me in a town from which I should be able to catch a bus tomorrow! As I have done every day since Friday, I stopped off in a bazaar to buy bread and more of the fermented cheese. Swamped by ladies interested in the photos on the iPad, I then left them to it while I toured another bazaar!