Tuesday, 26 August 2014

St. David's to Tashkent

Being a recent graduate had meant that I had scrounged a free holiday with the parents, but as a result of this I now had to make my way from South Wales to Eastern Uzbekistan. I don’t know how many people have made this journey before me, but I would bet 1000 Uzbek sums that there are not many of us. Perhaps someone will inform me that actually, St. David’s has its very own Central Asian society and they have an annual trip to Samarkand. But I think it’s unlikely.

So I packed up everything neatly, using a special system of rolled knickers to fill in any gaps. Then it was off!

St. David’s to Haverfordwest

While waiting at the bus stop, I was tactfully informed that I was to be living alone in a flat in Tashkent. I started to panic: would I be alone for the entire year? What if I got lonely and cried all the time? What if the fridge fell on me and I died and no one saw? It was with great trepidation that I got on the bus.

Luckily, I met a nice lady with a sense of adventure who had just been on holiday to St. David’s on her own. She told me about how she’d hitchhiked around North Wales and about a time when she went camping on Skye but her tent flooded so she had to stay in a Youth Hostel. Apparently everyone at the campsite had had the same idea, so they all ended up sleeping on the floor. At least I wouldn’t be sleeping on the floor. Hopefully. And if this woman could go on holiday on her own and enjoy herself, maybe I could enjoy living alone.

Haverfordwest to Cardiff

There’s really not a lot to say about Haverfordwest to Cardiff except that Haverfordwest is about the most depressing place I’ve ever been through (sorry, everyone who lives there). All there seemed to be was deserted Baptist and Presbytarian chapels. The train stopped at every building and I was pretty enthralled to get to Cardiff.

Cardiff to London

One of those exciting fast trains with industrial-looking windows!

Heathrow to Tashkent

After a slight glaring contest with some man who hated me because of my massive purple suitcase, I met up with one of the other Sheffield graduates and we went through security and did all the fun airporty stuff.

The flight was seven hours long and included a screening of that ever-popular Keanu Reeves classic, A Walk in the Clouds. I only managed to concentrate on the second half, and was watching with subtitles rather than listening to it, but I got the general gist. Basically, Keanu Reeves is married to a woman he doesn’t fancy and starts fancying a woman whose dad owns a vineyard and hates him. After encountering a few plot holes, everyone realises that actually, grapes are the most important thing in the world and will eventually bring people together.

Tashkent airport to my house

We spent a little while at customs and had a chat with a man there who told us about all the best places to get plov, the Uzbek national dish (and my blog’s namesake). It was rather pleasing to find that we hadn’t completely lost our Russian.

Once over the border and in possession of our possessions, we got into the back of a taxi with a broken windscreen. It was quite exciting being driven around; the roads are, in general, really wide, and everyone drives mostly where they like, from what I can tell. I’ve also been told that it’s Uzbek tradition to beep at anyone who drives past.

We were taken to each of our flats in turn, with mine the last stop. My flat is just for me, and it’s rather groovy. The d├ęcor is on the theme of 1960s futuristic: the walls are curvy, orange and blue, and there are a hilarious number of jazzy lights. I have, so far, counted eighteen light switches which each operate a separate light or set of lights. My favourite set is the one that consists of six lights with little orange sparkly balls in front of them. Just in case you weren’t already jealous of them, I will put a few pictures of the other exciting lights at the end of this post.


All that was left to do after trying out all of my new lights was to have a very large sleep. So I did, and it was wonderful.

This is above my bed. Woooow.