WE DECIDED TO get out of the city and take an old Soviet train on an 8-hour journey to the medieval town of Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Of course, we played a gig or two on the train, managing to charm security into not arresting us, but instead becoming part of the audience.
Every stop we made, golden-toothed women poured onto the train, selling beer and bread, pretty much their only source of income. Entering Bukhara is like crossing from the Soviet Union into Asia. The buildings are ornate and distinctly Persian, while the local people have a more Turkmen look. Women are notably absent from the streets.
We jammed with a local singer, Nishon, famous for his romantic ballads. In this more conservatively Islamic part of Uzbekistan, I couldn’t visit his house and instead had to wait for the boys to go pick him up and bring him back to our hotel.