Despite being surrounded by the beauty of the place, I’ve spent a day mostly people watching. It was provoked by meeting this lovely man on my first circuit of the city. He was sat at the South Gate of Khiva. I asked permission to take his picture, and he turned and smiled. I showed him the picture and he stroked his beard and laughed. He is 86. I think this is my favourite picture so far. People are more interesting than buildings. I walked on from him and a man passed me and asked if I wanted to eat with him. I said that Al hamdullilah my stomach was full and he laughed, shook my hand and carried on. That’s not the first time that has happened. Just after lunch I passed a group of builders who called me over for chai (tea). Hospitality to a stranger.

After meeting the old man I found myself back in the bazaar, and as always was intrigued by it all. I found a little cafe, had more chai and watched the comings and goings of the world. It’s a fascinating place and much more lovely than Tesco. Apart from the fact it’s hot, people come and go, there seems to be little argument and there is a pace to it all. Perhaps its just too hot to move too fast. Well it was for me. Forty degrees C today. I’ve been keeping an eye on the liquids and was amazed that I shifted seven litres of fluid yesterday. Most of it goes straight out into my shirt!

Here’s some pictures:

The hottest place to visit was the coppersmith’s workshop. I found where he was working by the sound of beating metal. A little cell set into the old walls it contained several anvils and the furnace. He was sweating more than I was! Again I was welcomed in and invited to sit at his side. The request to photograph was allowed and nothing was asked in return.

Finally, Another shot of some more interesting and friendly people. I’d had lunch and wandered off around the corner to see the motorcycle. Mashura (l) Hamid (father) and Ozoda (r) run a café in the bazaar. When I stopped to look at the Jawa 350, Ozoda came to speak to me. With her father she rides the moto. She was amazed to hear that women ride motorcycles to travel the world. She was fascinated to learn that Lois Pryce had ridden across Iran and of @antsbk riding motorcycles across Tajikistan. Hope I’ve lit a fire!!