I have had a number of students from Uzbekistan while working in Almaty, and three of them had advised me to make sure I try both Samarkand plov and Tashkent plov. The main difference between the two, in theory, is that Samarkand plov is cooked with the rice separate from the meat and carrots, whereas in Tashkent plov it is all cooked together. Blinded by the incredible goodness from the Samarkand bazaar plov, Saranna, Eli and I anxiously ordered bowls of plov in the Chorsu bazaar. The Tashkent plov was notably different, probably because no one else in the complex was eating it, unlike in Samarkand where we had to wait for a table because everyone within a mile radius was eating the delicious concoction.
The next day, we met up with Eli and tried to walk from The Registan to Afrosiab. Along the way, we stopped by the Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Shah-I-Zinda, or the Avenue of Mausoleums. Both of these stops were incredibly impressive, the Bibi-Khanym was simply massive and beautiful, and the intricacies of the Shah-I-Zinda were astounding.
The relative shine and newness of the Kalon Minaret area was not present only a few blocks away at the Ulugbek Medressa and the painted Adbul Aziz Khan Medressa. These two massive schools have remained mostly untouched for the last 500+ years, giving a much clearer picture of what it might have been like to study the Koran there in 1417.
We were able to escape the city for a long weekend out at Kolsai Lakes with some of my awesome friends here. The second night we camped on the shores of the second lake, and it was the night of the "Super Moon," which meant we had some fun and animal spirits were high.
The Temples and tourists were positively amazing, but the heat was overwhelming. We walked back to the train, where a very nice lady overheard us speaking in English, and after some conversation, hailed us a tuk-tuk to take us to China Town. We zipped through the city to a place where it's nearly impossible to walk down the sidewalk without bumping into someone, seeing some amazing (and hilarious) things for sale, and getting distracted very quickly.