I arrived Tashkent, Uzbekistan on May 19th after traveling for two days! I had to transfer airports in New York, then had a 8-hour layover in Moscow, finally arriving Tashkent at 2:30 AM. My taxi tried to scam me (as usual) but it came to a good ending. I slept about an hour before it was time for breakfast, brought by Gulnara to each of us in the courtyard with perfect weather temperature. I had an omelet, bread (very tough) good butter, cheese and jam, excellent yoghurt and tea, since the coffee is NesCafe
My first project was to get a train ticket to Nukus for Sunday, and failing that, to get an airplane ticket. The train ticketing was a trial in patience——maybe capitalism isn’t perfect, but this system is very frustrating! After waiting in two lines (first agent had to go to dinner) for two hours, there was no space on the RR to Nukus during the three days which were possible. So, on to the airline office with more waiting but FINALLY, after taking my papers and going to another cashier for credit card use, I got my ticket!
I had taken the Metro to the train station (cost about 30 cents) which has beautiful metro stops very much like in Moscow. When I came back I perused the Chorsu Bazaar, then ate at a huge vendor place that also sold vodka and beer (I had one of each!) I ate a kabab and something else that my neighbor at the table was having, for an all around good lunch. My ‘neighbor’ was Malika, who was with her mother-in-law, and invited me to their home for the next day! How lucky for me! Well, not so lucky, as it turned out, as she wrote her phone number on a paper for me to give to the taxi driver and she would tell him where to go. The next day, I did that; the taxi driver called three times, but no answer. So I gave him the cake I had bought to bring to her, and had lunch at the Chorsu Bazaar again!
I was still pretty tired from the trip, so just hung out at the hostel. I had a lovely Japanese roommate my second night. She was a dentist, tired of her work, and so was taking three months off to travel.
The next day I took the metro to see the Fine Arts Museum. This was to be 15 centuries of Uzbek art, but most of the ﬁrst 13 centuries were missing! Still there were some lovely paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries to enjoy. One was of their national game, which is throwing a lamb from horseback rider to horseback rider—-actually I had read that they throw it with spears, which aren’t shown here.
Uzbekistan still has lots of Soviet remnants, as you would expect. They use the Cyrillic alphabet, too, so if the signs are in Russian or Uzbek, they are still hard to read! There is very little English spoken here, which makes it challenging.
I’m off to Nukus by air tomorrow. I can get a bus to the airport right from the Chorsu Bazaar.