Uzbekistan had not been on my travel horizons until I got talking to an Uzbek salesman who happened to be sitting opposite me on a train in Germany in the summer of 2010.
He was clearly good at his job, for I quickly became gripped by his descriptions of his homeland and by the photos of turquoise-domed mosques he insisted on showing me on his phone. It all seemed so far removed from the pine forest zipping past the window during our conversation.
His niche of selling bike tours was also appealing, as I have always been active and outdoor-minded.
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