Traveling on the Road to Tashkent, Uzbekistan

I'm trying to catch up on where I've been so here is the story I wrote on the road to Tashkent.

We are on the bus again, on the way to Tashkent, about the same distance as Samarkand from Bukhara, our suitcases a bit heavier. Mine because of a lovely suit jacket that I purchased at the home of the fashion designer whose home we went  to last night for a fashion show and dinner.

This seems to be the custom for selling items here. A show that includes a lecture about how the items are made, a display of the items and then a gracious meal. Similar to the way in which I purchased the rug in Istanbul. The same was true of the leather jacket.  Plenty of personal attention.

In this case it was a fashion show first. We sat on benches lined against the wall, the wares hanging above us and off to a corner. Then one of the models entered the room.

These were outfits based on the traditional dress of the Uzbeks, pantaloons and long flowing tops, that were designed  for the modern woman,  as outlandish as those on some of the modern runways . None of us were interested in purchasing any of these but we were interested in the short suit jackets and scarves on show round the room. I found several jackets in blues and browns that I liked. The jackets were made up of a quilt material that used several different prints contrasted against one another with lovely colors. I tried on one that was predominantly blue.  Luckily Marty was there to help. His family
had been in the garment business and as soon as he saw me in it, he motioned, too tight. I tried another. Perfect, he proclaimed. This one was in browns and blacks, good colors for me and I purchased it.

Earlier in the day we had gone to watch paper making from the wood of the mulberry tree. Again, we watched the process and then were served lunch in a long grove of trees behind the house.  It was excellent, homecooked by the paper maker’s family. I bought a paper placemat with machine made stitching made of paper that he assured me was washable, but NOT by machine.  I figure I can use it under something in the dining room.

We are back in the desert , lone mules and burros graze. For the first time I’m seeing trees along the road and the foothills of mountain ranges on both sides of us, the Turkmenistan mountains to the right. A  sliver of Turkemenistan  juts out here.

I will close here and continue later.

Filed under: Uzbekistan

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    Carolyn Boiarsky

    " I am an American," but not "Chicago born" like Augie March. Only Chicago aged. I'd like to think that if Henry Louis Gates were to investigate my geneology, he would discover in my past three women who traveled around the globe, chronicling their adventures. Sarah Kemble Knight traveled 112 miles by carriage from Boston to New York in 1704, a journey most women did not embark on alone (and men did so only with some trepidation). In fact, women were only just beginning to exercise their independence in the 1920's when Emily Kimbrough took off with her friend, Cornelia Otis Skinner, to explore Europe. But it is Auntie Mame, transforming herself from a New Yorker to the wife of an Austrian Baron and climbing the Matterhorn, whose mantra I have adopted. "LIFE IS A BANQUET...LIVE!" I began travelling in the 1960's when I traveled around western Europe between graduating from the Univiersity of Pennsylvania and my first job as a statehouse correspondent for UPI (United Press International) in Charleston, West Virginia, which was about as foreign a place as Europe was to someone who grew up in the environs of Philadelphia. Since then, I've also travelled to Kaunas, Lithuania, to teach at Vytautus Magnus University and to Sheffield, England, to present a paper at an engineering conference. I've been to the Alps and seen Auntie Mame's Matterhorn while climbing, by a series of cable cars rather than by foot, toward the peak of Mont Blanc. For the past 10 years my husband and I have been traveling to unique places: a sheep farm during lambing season in England's Lake Country, a hotel on one of the Barromeo Islands in the middle of Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy, and a cottage in Dun Quin on the Dingle Peninsula which the Irish claim is the last parish before Boston. Between excursions, I'm a professor in the Department of English at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Indiana,. My husband passed away recently and, Auntie Mame-style, I am in the process of transforming myself. Last year I joined a tour to Central Asia. This year I'm going to China to work with the pandas. A new adventure. Another banquet.

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