Our overnight hotel in Samarqand was a family run affair and obviously catered to different nationalities.

This was confirmed by the varying colours, shapes and lengths of “body hair” still present on our “fresh linen”.

What I thought was an ant with a back pack now looks very much like a flea…

In return, we left their toilet needing the three P’s – a Plumber, a Painter and a Priest.

We met the rest of the convoy and strolled around the old city.

Some had gate crashed a circumcision party (dont ask) and had a great night dancing with locals. I just hope they didn’t eat the calamari rings.

If Bukhara is the young attractive woman in the bar, Samarqand is the older Auntie with the new boob job who also went for the bleach blonde hair and botox.

Once beautiful and exotic, all the renovation work now masks increasing cracks and makes her look a little bit garish and desperate for compliments…and a rich husband.

Samarqand is like any other tourist 15th century town until…you get to Bibi-Khanym Mosque. WOW!.

This monolithic 15th century mosque is awe inspiring and majestic. Turquoise and gold domes catch your eye as does the dozen of pointed arch ways and heavily mosaiced minurettes.

Aunty may have had the facelift but she’s still charming and fun to be around. Just don’t look too close.

Enjoying the minor celebrity status of the Mongol Rally, people were genuinely interested and several asked to have their photos taken with us.

Either that or we just photo bombed six wedding albums and a funeral!

As the Mongol Mongrels were pushing on in a different direction, we said good by to our Rally Convoy friends. This was a mini Brexit moment as the predominantly UK team left the safety and support of the European group.

I, the token The Aussie, applied for but was denied political asylum!!

Our Uzbekistan to Kazakhstan border crossing was a dirty, smelly and down right rude affair.

Hew had to physically wrestle his way to the single Customs window, as truck drivers used their ample weight and even more ample body odour to challenge rivals for the one snarly bored desk jockey.

If he was any less enthusiastic, you would be checking for a pulse.

The road out of the border was another pot holed, mad driver, road rage affair. With a new twist thrown in just for us….

Donkeys are still a form of cheap transport and haulage in Central Asia. They are also as dumb as a bag of broken bricks and very hard to see at night…at 80kmh!

We took a long, blind bend only to see the panic stricken wide eyes of a trembling donkey only feet from our headlights. I swore I heard “SHREK! SHREK. WE ALL GONNA DIE SHREK!!

Onwards to Kazakhstan and I am trying really hard not to do this in a Borat voice!

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