Tashkent by Day
The locals are really central Asians. A handsome people, they look more like Turks with a hint of the orient in their faces. By and large I can understand most of what they say- although in Samarkhand and Bukhara they apparently speak pashtu or some Persian derivative.
We decide to visit the chorshi pazaar at midday. We stand by turbaned of the road and wait. A small Daewoo toots its horn, we flag them down and the Uzbek in command zooms us around the streets at what seems like breakneck speed. The fact that his Korean made car is more of a go-kart than a car makes the ride even safer.
The old city consists of a large vegetable meat and bread market, along with an open-air restaurant. The entire place seemed to be run by Local women and girls in colourful dresses. They are smiling, They smile at the camera full of happiness, and self-confidence. This market belongs to them.
We eat Kebabs and drink tea seerved by a bizarrely well spoken Anglophone lady. We wander aimlessly through Central Tashkent. It was a most soviet experience. Militiamen guarded the the entrance to the metro stops; resplendant in their green uniforms and central Asian kepis, but that just makes us feel safer.
Al Aziz for dinner
The Daewoo driver wants 4000. We agree and his go kart takes us through the wide boulevards of Brezhnev to a bridge.
“here it is” he says
He points at a neon sign in a bridge and shoes us out. We pay up and follow the sign. We arrive in a canal-side courtyard below a bridge, The sides of the walls were decorated with Soviet art.
The waitresses are dark Russian girls of varying beauty – starting at stunning. They serve sensational Turkish style cuisine, made by Turkish and Persian chefs in what seems to be the largest open-air restaurant in Tashkent. It is total madness- respectable Russian ladies dance to an Uzbek singer. Middle-aged Russian men have a vodka with their wives, Uzbek families share wine on their long tables with headscarfed women. All of their children play in the fountains together.
We eat stunning shashlik with salad and yogurt, next to a river. The wind cools us in the summer heat and the green grape vines ad to the atmosphere.
This is our first day – Welcome to stunning Uzbekistan.