Day 10 – Seven Heavens Beneath a Waterfall

10jnalph.gifIt was a strange experience walking into a BBC building in the middle of Tashkent – a small piece of England, a refuge, an embassy. Jenny Norton who runs BBC Monitoring Tashkent had been a very good contact for us when this journey was planned. Today she met us in her office, a room rented as part of a hotel complex. Being very interested in our journey, she was happy to advise us about the areas we are planning to travel to. She pointed out that as part of our description of musicians and music it is likely some sensitive issues will be touched on. “Tell it like it is” she announced. She mentioned the relative peace and stability in Uzbekistan compared with the problems in Afghanistan and Tajikistan. She assured us we would be safe following the planned route of the rest of our journey.

10alpha.gifWhilst wandering around Tashkent in the sweltering heat, we came across an intriguing character standing by a fountain in Alimdjan’s Square – in memory of the great Uzbek writer. His face had the weather-beaten look of someone who spends a lot of time in the open. He could have been forty …or sixty, it was hard to tell. He started to tell us about the significance of this place. It was not, as we had thought, just another piece of grandiose Soviet architecture but had all kinds of cosmological significance. This genial and likeable gentleman goes by the rather unusual name of Alpha-Omega. Intrigued by his stories, we followed him down some steps to what appeared to be a maintenance room of some kind – this was his home. He welcomed us in, sat us down and offered us tea. He then continued with his story.

As far as we could understand, he was describing all the cosmic forces acting upon this spot. He gave an explanation of the ‘seven heavens’, the five parts of the human body and the four elements. His wide-ranging conversation darted from one subject to the next, seemlessly. Somehow it all seemed connected. By now there were complex cosmological diagrams and mathematical symbols drawn on a piece of paper.He explained how all the religions were in fact one and how Jesus Christ was coming again soon, in fact he was already born. He described himself as a Dervish, a Sufi holy man and said that he was a reincarnation of Ibn Al Arabi, a famous Andalucian saint. This statement was followed by a complex astrological breakdown of how this fortuitous event (his reincarnation) had happened.


A couple of books we saw lying around his room were indeed works by classical Sufi authors. He lived very tidily in this simple room and wanted no money from us. ‘Everyone is welcome here’, he said. We asked if he knew any musicians. ‘I’ve met some… up there’ , and he pointed to the sky.

Tomorrow we are travelling to the Holy City of Bukhara. Our first real interception with the Silk Road. I am eagerly anticipating this city – log in and find out about musicians we will be meeting.

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