Lesley Lababidi, the Silk Road traveler 


   Lesley Lababidi on the train to Tashkent

“Here it is! My dream voyage finally in place,” writes AUC Press author Lesley Lababidi on July 7 in her blog post 'Beijing to Tashkent: Following the Silk Road, the countdown,’ on a trip she took alone for over two months, that began in China and ended in Uzbekistan. 

Seven years ago I said to a friend that I was too old to take this trip and listened to myself list the many excuses as to why I should not and could not attempt such a trip. . . . Then, in October of that year, I had a sudden realization—maybe an epiphany, maybe not—but the clarity to know that this was my chance to travel the Silk Road," comments the active and well-traveled American on her blog Nomad4Now.

She did follow her dream. A few days before boarding her Egyptair flight for Beijing, Lababidi, who currently lives between Cairo, Beirut, and Lagos, blogged: All packed and ready to go on the Silk Road.

 Chinese visa stamp
  Plov, the Uzbekistan national dish
 Uyghur embroidery by women of Turpan    Fourth World Epic Festival, Bishkek Philharmonic Theater

After months of preparation, half a dozen immunizations, travel permits, and extensive reading, she set off on the road.
Much of my interest about the Silk Road stems from research, studying, photographing, and writing about traditional crafts in Egypt and Nigeria, explains Lababidi to her virtual followers. Indigo, silk, glassblowing, equestrian festivals, bread making are just a few of the subjects I will seek out. Moreover, I am fascinated with the movement of Islam through these countries and have many opportunities to visit Muslim communities throughout this trip. But too, I am well aware that while something is sought after another thing is found.

Throughout her voyage, Lababidi, who authored Cairo’s Street Stories: Exploring the City’s Statues, Squares, Bridges, Gardens, and Sidewalk Café, Cairo: The Family Guide, and Cairo Practical Guide, and just co-authored the forthcoming A Field Guide to the Street Names of Central Cairo, keeps a meticulous record of her fascinating and vivid accounts, experiences, and encounters with people like Liu Yunjiang, the cricket man in Beijing, Khasan Umarov, the Uzbek sword and knife blacksmith, and Lena Latik, the Ukrainian textile artist in Samarkand.

Click here to read Lesley Lababidi's thirteen Silk Road blog posts on Nomad4Now.  

All the photos in this post belong to Lesley Lababidi.

November 2017







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