National Geographic : 2017 Dec
SPIRITS OF THE SILK ROAD 133 barrier to travel. It certainly has stopped me. “Don’t blame the choban,” my guide Aziz Khalmuradov says, referring to local shepherds. Khalmuradov is a proud Uzbek. Yet I can tell even he is stunned. “Stealing water is a big crime here,” he says, kneeling in exhaustion beside our plundered depot. “Nobody would dare.” But if not the shepherds, then who? Khalmuradov and I slog up a scalding pink dune. We use a satellite phone to summon help from Buxoro, a fabled oasis city that’s a two-day walk away. We sit. We watch the burning hori- zons. We wait. In the eighth century a trader to the northeast of us, near a Chinese town called Turpan, paid 40 bolts of raw silk for an 11-year- old slave girl. To the southeast, a thousand years before that, Alexander the Great risked his con- quering legacy when he forded the Oxus River on flimsy rafts stitched from his men’s leather tents. And today all around us, Beijing is pouring a tril- lion dollars into rebuilding a modern Silk Road trade network across Eurasia. How much would I Nempor repero modit dolorem perion re am sam fuga. Itat exeratis ipsam, sitisquo molupta qui ommolore et res volenimil idusam, sim conse nullupt atassint voloribus sim quidi bernatis enis si dolorem perore lam atur aligni idus.Lestis des rem ditinih illiquu ndellor simus. Solor aut eum simaionem laborum alitempori omnihi- tate mo consequam ad est, etur, sus del eum et la nos eatquam facimin numquam, anduntor aciendae. Simil Children in Aqtau, Kazakhstan, play on a crumbling pier jutting into the Caspian Sea, the largest inland body of water on Earth. Aqtau has long been Kazakhstan’s sole seaport, connecting the country’s trade routes with Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkey.