Arslanbob: Searching for Ibn-i Abbass    

Image for Entry 1220099688 The small waterfall is just a short walk from the guest house. From there, we walked up a hill to the walnut forest. At the top of the hill was a combination of fields and forests.

The walnut forests are gentle forests. They subtly blend into the fields since they don't have dense undergrowth. From a distance, they appear very dense covering the hillside with puffy green cushions, however, the light filters through making a walk through the forest a walk through dappled green shadows and gold light. There are lots of dirt roads and paths so it isn't a forest you could get lost for days in (at least not in the part near town) but it can be a bit confusing getting to where you want to go. The paths meander and wind, sometimes following an orderly avenue through stick and wire fences, other times heading off in several directions through a walnut grove.

We were searching for the tomb of Ibn-i Abbass. People pointed out a road and told us to follow it. A little ways down the road we passed some sunflower fields and then one where a family was taking a lunch/tea break from harvesting potatoes.

The gestured for us to come and have some tea and offered us plov (but we'd just eaten) and bread with honey.

We visited for a bit then went on our way. The road moved into walnut groves where Rowshan harvested a few.

Then it went down, around, and dipped into a ravine. We ascended through the forest and met a road. We turned left hoping the tomb wasn't to the right. We'd been walking up the road for about 1/2 hour when we finally found someone to ask. She pointed in the direction we'd just come from and told us it was about 1/2 hour back and on our right.

We walked back stopping to investigate an area where there was an open gate, what looked like an abandoned house, an outhouse and a fire pit. We walked on to the end of the road which brought us to the edge of the hill from where we could see the vast walnut forest spreading off into the distance.

We decided that the only possible location of Ibn-i Abbass' tomb would have to be the abandoned houses. I joked that maybe it was a local trick on foreigners that they referred to the outhouse as the tomb of Ibn-i Abbass.

We returned to the location and had another look around. This time in an area where we'd noticed some pieces of sheet metal and concrete. Here we saw the concrete was a hexagon wall surrounding a pile of dirt with some plants growing on it. Rowshan searched for some markings or a name, examining the pieces of rusted metal next to an overturned bench. We decided this had to be it for lack of any other candidates. Rowshan snapped a photo and we headed back the way we came. On the way we met a woman and Rowshan showed her the photo. She confirmed that it was the tomb of Ibn-i Abbass.

We hurried back through the forest waving at our friends gathering potatoes as we walked by. Although the tomb was a bit anticlimactic, it had been a nice walk through the forests.

Now we are back at the Chaikhane. We found a photo printer, Suluu, with a scenic location by the river and various props set up outside: flowers, a tea bed, a toy car and stuffed animals for photo sessions (if one wasn't satisfied with just the river). The man working there had 2 computers and Epson printers. A boy was hand feeding photo paper into one. The second had a problem which Rowshan tried to fix but in the end was daunted by his lack of Russian and my lack of Russian computer terminology.

We printed some of the photos for people we figured we could find in the center.

If I had an extra life, I'd learn how to make cheese and start a small cheese farm in Arslanbob making white cheese to go with walnuts as well as cheese with apricots and other artisan cheeses.

We told Marufdjan about Murat's proposal for Rowshan to move here. Marufdjan sided with me saying Rowshan and I were too happy together so he shouldn't marry an Uzbek, and open a store in Arslanbob.

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