So. We made it to Samarqand, Bukhara, and Khiva, and we had a great time. I still can't believe we made it to all three places. We have just a few days left here and maybe I'll get through some of the many, many photos I have to post. And we're running out of time to get things done in Tashkent.
It still is so nice to be in Central Asia. Part of that is just not being in Riyadh in July since Riyadh has to be one of the worst places on the planet in July. It's lovely to sit outside in the morning, to be able to walk a kilometer to the grocery store, to open the windows at night. I was with some other expats who are living in Tashkent right now and they were talking about the dust and heat in Tashkent. I just sat and smiled because it seems so not dusty here and so much cooler than Riyadh even on the worst days. (Bukhara was sandy though, more like Riyadh, in some parts.)
It just feels so familiar and comfortable here, including the mishaps. The electricity went out while we were getting ready to leave for Khiva. Luckily, the dryer (yes, a dryer in Central Asia. I use it because I don't have a clothesline or rack with me and it's not worth tracking either down for a few weeks' use) had finished, but it was downstairs in the very dark basement and we don't have any backup light sources. I managed to get all of the clothes into a bag, but then I couldn't find my way back to the (very steep) stairs. I had to resort to calling my husband who came to the top of the stairs and talked to me till I found my way. That could happen in any new place though. Mostly we haven't had unique to Central Asia mishaps. The taxi drivers can never find our street since it has a similar name to another nearby neighborhood. It took quite a lot of convincing last night that we knew where our house was and the taxi driver didn't, but we made it home in the end.
One of the best things has been Uzbek . I understand a reasonable amount of Uzbek and can't produce much, but my husband speaks quite a bit. When we first flew in it took a while for him to switch from Arabic to Uzbek, but it came back very quickly. It's lovely to have an Uzbek speaker with you in Uzbekistan and almost everyone he has talked to has been surprised he speaks Uzbek. We know a few American Uzbek speakers at work, but most of them speak Russian better than they speak Uzbek so they use Russian instead. It's also nice to finally have him speaking Uzbek in Uzbekistan. We've run into very few people who don't speak Uzbek, fewer than in Kyrgyzstan. You could get by here just learning Uzbek (neither of us have used Russian much at all), although Russian is good to have also since there are obviously people who don't speak Uzbek. Samarqand was interesting though, since it's mostly a Tajik city. But nearly everyone spoke Uzbek in addition to Tajik.