|Internet cafes are becoming harder to find and the speeds slower but this one, down an alley here in Bukhara looks better so here goes. Broke our temperature record yesterday when we registered 45 C after hanging the thermo out of Claude's window crossing the Kakaram Desert. We have taken the two engine side panels off (they simply unscrew) and this has improved the airflow around the engine. Our feet don't get so hot on the bulkhead and Claude seems to respond better so it has definitely helped. (Thanks for the tip Alan & Paul). The oil though is quite dark, black really, which I think is a sign it is working hard in these extreme conditions. We are coming up to 10,000 kms so we might need to change the oil sooner than expected. Alan ?
Highlight of last few days was the visit to Merv in Turkmenistan. Archaeologists are slowly beginning to believe that this huge UNESC World Heritage site may be an ancient civilisation matching Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China. Like these sites, Merv (actually five cities spread over an area of about 40ha) sits in a fertile plane fed by a river, the Murgab, who's source is in the Pamirs.
Speaking of rivers, we are crossing some of the world's great waterways. Starting with the Thames of course, we've crossed the Rhine, walked in the Euphrates and so on. Yesterday we crossed Amu Darya , formerly the Oxus, on an old steel pontoon bridge. This would have been a pretty cool experience but for the knowledge that this great river is being massively drained for the cotton that's grown here, so much so that the Aral Sea in northern Uzbek, the third biggest lake in the world, is being fatally starved creating one of the world's worst environmental disasters. It is a shock to see pictures of the damage but again, the human need seems to completely override the environmental need and there seems to be no recognition of the long term interrelationship between the two. Really sad for our Western eyes and again, difficult to explain our reaction to locals. Plus Outra, G&M