Silky smooth: Resident travels Asia’s Silk Road

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By Kirsten Laskey

A bus ride in London, England pushed Los Alamos resident Frances Richey to make herself a promise.

While traveling with her then-husband to Russia and Europe in 1959, Richey found herself sitting next to a woman on a London bus who had visited China.

As they compared stories, Richey discovered that the woman’s stories of a sunny country filled with smiling people contrasted with her own stories of Moscow drenched in clouds and depression. It was then at 30 years old, Richey decided someday she would visit China herself.

In 1998, Richey fulfilled that promised.

As a graduate at MIT, Richey traveled to China on a tour she refers to as “China I.” She saw the big sites, such as the Great Wall, the Yangtze River and Beijing, but it didn’t satisfy Richey’s desire. She wanted to see more.

So in 2001, she toured the Western Province of China.

“That’s what stimulated my interest in western China and the Silk Road,” she said.

So from Sept. 19-Oct. 6, Richey journeyed through Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan through the Archaeological Institute of America Tours.

In Uzbekistan, Richey — along with nine other travelers — toured Tashkent, Smarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. In Turkmenistan, Richey visited Ashkabad and Merv.

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