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October 21, 2002

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What must you do on the Silk Road? Visit a silk factory. No tourists come to the Fergana Valley, so we knocked on the doors of some local silk factories, the second one opened up. Inside, lines of women workers sorted piles of silkworm cocoons, steamed them loose, and unraveled 1 kilometer of silk fiber from each one by tying the tiny threads to a machine spinner.
The real Silk Road.
One cocoon for you, two for me...
In the afternoon we dropped by the khan's palace in Kokand. Hello, khan.
In a town without tourism, finding an open restaurant presents a big challenge. Standing around like lost souls, one cafe re-opened its doors and invited us inside. They stuffed us with food, played ping-pong, then sent us home with double-decker ice cream cones, free of charge.