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elainetuo elainetuo

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Elaine Tuo 

From Istanbul, with ❤️ #love #heart #istanbul #turkey #turkishdelight #tea

Spend the last Silk Road days in Khiva, once a barbaric slave town, nowadays a charming open museum. #khiva #uzbekistan #centralasia #asia #silkroad #ancientcity #walledcity #minaret #city

To many, Samarkand is the city of Timur. While he will forever be remembered by the rest of the world as the mighty conqueror whose armies killed more than 17 million people, he is thought of with fondness by the locals. After all, he did leave more than just a legacy of death and war, his legacy is Samarkand. Today, as I stood in front of Timur's tomb in his city sitting mid-way between the east and the west, I imagined the glory days of Silk Road. #samarkand #uzbekistan #centralasia #cis #asia #timur #tamerlane #legacy #mausoleum #turqoise #statue #travelphotography

Many people say if you can only visit one Central Asian city, make it Samarkand. To many, Samarkand IS the Silk Road. The minarets, the colourful tile work that decorates everything, the tombs of powerful and merciless emperor, bustling bazaars, monumental mosques and madrassas, all of it combines to make this city a living and breathing part of history. #Samarkand #registan #uzbekistan #centralasia #madrassa #asia #silkroad #islam #fiftyshadesofblue

Sweet to ride forth at evening from the wells,
When shadows pass gigantic on the sand,
And softly through the silence beat the bells,
Along the Golden Road to Samarkand.

We travel not for trafficking alone,
By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned,
For lust of knowing what should not be known,
We take the Golden Road to Samarkand. - James Elroy Flecker #shahizinda #uzbekistan #samarkan #silkroad #mausoleum #fiftyshadesofblue #blue #tajik #centralasia #cis #asia #islam #tomb

With a ghetto hand-drew map, a driver who's disoriented, and a curious B&B owner, we crossed several mountains, drove at the country road at 20km/hr, and reached the Yagnob Valley. The valley is home to the Yagnobi people, a people directly descended from the ancient Sogdian civilization. Due to its natural isolation and limited infrastructure access, the Yagnobis have been able to preserve their distinct lifestyle, culture, and most importantly, the Sogdian language. In fact, the Yagnobis are the last people on earth to speak this ancient language.
I first learnt about the valley when watching a BBC documentary. Even though the documentary has been released for over a decade, the valley did not draw huge tourist crowd. The people are still very curious about the visitors from outside the valley.
The Sogdian merchants were one of the most active group of people traveling along the ancient Silk Road, promoting the trade of goods and exchange of cultures along the way. It feels like time travel to meet their descends and hear this ancient language being spoken. #tajikistan #centralasia #yagnob #yaghnob #valley #sogdian #silkroad #dushanbe #river #mountains #travelphotography #trekking

While it wasn't why I came to Astana, I was so pumped to go to the Expo 2017 today. I ended up visited 64 countries' pavilions, what a day!

This year's theme is something I am very passionate about. From working on clients in the tradition energy space at the beginning of my career, to helping European PE looking into investment opportunities in solar power panel producer in the MENA region 5 years ago, to advising the big Chinese buyers with their acquisitions of offshore wind farm and other alternative energy projects in the past couple of years, I've gained appreciation for getting access to sustainable energy source to reduce CO2 emissions. We only have one 🌎, let's take care of our planet. #astana #astanaexpo2017 #expo #kazakhstan #futureenergy #expo2017 #renewableenergy #planet

Astana started to catch my attention 5 years ago because of pro-cycling - big money was invested by a coalition of state owned enterprises to increase the profile and make the team one of the best in the world. Back then, I couldn't really locate the city on the map without the help of Google.
As my plane landed in the city yesterday, I realized none of my knowledge of the place from before, nor anything I've seen during my CIS trip so far have prepared me for Astana.

Astana, the brainchild of the president-for-life Nazarbayev, was a young city built pretty much from scratch when the country decided to move the capital from Almaty. You don't see the typical former Soviet Union monuments and architectures like in other CIS cities. It almost reminded me of Dubai or even Las Vegas.

It might not be fair to call Kazakhstan the nouveau riche of Central Asia, but you can certainly see the country's ambition in this young city. Where did the oil money go? Look around, at all the glitz and glamour, and you will understand.

#astana #kazakhstan #building #architecture #placeofpeaceandreconciliation #bayterek #khanshatyr #centralasia #tower #astanaexpo2017

I was wandering the street of Bishkek aimless when I saw a Kotatepe look-alike in distance (Kotatepe is the big mosque in Ankara). I walked close to it, around the temporary fence, and found the entrance of a construction site. The gentleman guarding the door doesn't seem to speak English. I was disappointed when he signaled that the mosque isn't open for public and was about the leave. That is when he asked "tourist? From?" "Tourist. From China!" "China! Ah!" He suddenly got excited, waved to ask me to follow him. I did, and when we reached a temporary office tent, a young man emerged. And he speaks English! So the only person who speaks English on site and the old guard became my private tour guide of the mosque. Turned out it was built by a Turkish foundation based on Kotatepe and it is the biggest mosque in all over Central Asia. The construction was completed less than a month ago and is expected to be open to public later this year. As luck would have it, I became the very first visitor of the big mosque. What an honor! #bishkek #krygyzstan #centralasia #mosque #travelphotography

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