On November 21st I headed to Tashkent, Uzbekistan with three of my colleagues for another Google Summit. You can read about that visit here! While I was in Tashkent for a Google summit I also got to visit a bit of the city. Thankfully it is not super large and it has good taxies so getting around was easy.
Our first stop was the Lotte Hotel to get some local currency. Boy was I surprised when I was given 990,000 som! I felt like a millionaire, well almost! After getting some money we headed to a local place for lunch that was recommended by the lady at the door of the hotel. The restaurant’s name was Navvat which we soon learned was a type of hard sugar that you melted into your tea. It looks like rock candy! It is made from grape sugar and is super yummy. Since it dissolves slowly in the tea you can put it into your cup and then just keep topping your tea up and it is nearly perfectly sweet all of the way through a pot of tea! We also had some amazing Khachapuri (hot-cha-pur-ee) which is a Georgian bread with cheese and an egg.
On our way back to our hotel we found a great doorway to take pictures of! I do like old wooden doors!
On Friday we headed to the school to the Summit and one of the things I saw was a map of the Silk Road. I don’t know that I have seen a map of the Silk Road since I was in school, so it was interesting to see it again and to realize that I was standing in one of the key cities.
When we woke up on Friday it had started to snow and it kept on snowing all day. It was pretty interesting since Moscow had only at that point had one snowfall that had only lasted a few hours!
On Saturday I spent some time at the Hazrati Imam Complex which is a mausoleum and religious center. There is a Mosque and a Madrassa on the site.
It also has one of the oldest versions of the Quran that has survived the Samarkand Kufic Quran. It is protected by a temperature-controlled box and photos are not allowed, but the photo I took shows another version of the Quran with very similar looking calligraphy. The building that houses these copies has many versions and it is very interesting to see who the calligraphy is on each one.
After touring this complex I took a short taxi to the Chorsu Bazaar. This was a truly locals market with amazing things to see. Thankfully Sarah had told me about the bakery and so I searched until I found it. I got to go into the area with the ovens and watch them bake traditional Lepeshka bread it was really interesting to watch how they managed the ovens and how they nearly disappeared inside them to place the bread on the sides! And it tasted amazing!
I also got to try a green radish called “Турп” in Russian. I kept staring at it so long that the guy cut off a piece and gave it to me to try! I don’t like red radishes but this was mild and really good!
I also tried some Kurt (court) which is a hardish cheese made from yogurt. It is made into all kinds of shapes balls like in the picture, tubes that look like white tootsie rolls and more. Again I was caught staring because I was trying to figure out what it was and the guy selling gave me a piece to try. I tried it and looked up and said “Cheese”. He nodded yes to me, then I got my handy Google translate out and typed cow, goat, or horse. He pointed to cow. I later confirmed with Nargiz my Kazakh colleague that it was yogurt cheese. She then responded you tried all of the things from my childhood!
As it was my first time being in central Asia it was interesting to me to experience the area and just see what there was to see with no expectations. I would love to go back and see more of the country as there are some areas that look very interesting.