Sunday, 28 September 2014

Totally bazaar

Before we begin, I have breaking news. I have finally tried plov! On Tuesday evening we were treated to a meal at an amazing Tashkent restaurant. We sat outside in a little courtyard covered like market tents, with beautiful carpets all over the walls and wicker baskets everywhere. It was not only the best food I’ve had in Tashkent but probably the best food I’ve had anywhere.

This weekend, we went to a bazaar called Chorsu, which is, apparently, the largest bazaar in Tashkent. So far we’ve seen a few bazaars but this one was something else; if Tashkent doesn’t hold the next World Hide and Seek Championship, I will be disappointed. Also if I find out that there is no World Hide and Seek Championship. Sorry to anyone who found my blog by Googling World Hide and Seek Championship.

We found where everyone goes!

It was mid-afternoon by the time we got to the bazaar, so peak bread-selling time had already passed, but there were still piles and piles of it in the stalls. There was a long corridor dedicated to nothing but bread, mostly this flatbread with a pretty pattern in the middle called Obi Non.
I made a joke on Facebook about Obi Non Kenobi but no one liked it.

After exploring the main buildings with their vast amounts of bread, fruit, vegetables and meat, we had a wander around outside. Many of the older women here wear long patterned dresses with matching headscarves, and we managed to solve the mystery of where they had found them. There were some really glorious examples of Uzbek national dress, including some with extra sparkles.

I know what I'm wearing to work tomorrow.

Looking at everything on sale made us really peckish, so we decided to nip to a fast food restaurant. The fast food here is pretty similar to everywhere else with a couple of exceptions, one of those being the inclusion of lavash on the menu. Lavash is a sort of kebab rolled up in a wrap and then toasted. But it’s so much more than that. When you see them being made, you start to doubt yourself and think about un-ordering what you’ve got; they start by squirting mayonnaise in thick lines, then cover it with cucumbers and tomatoes. The next step, however, is what absolutely makes it. They sprinkle crisps inside, then add some scraps of kebab meat and some spicy sauce. To top it off, sometimes they’ll stick in a bit more mayonnaise. To be honest, I have heard that ‘proper’ lavash is completely different, but the crisp-themed stuff from fast food places is just magical. Apart from the orangey grease that inevitably seeps out of the bottom.

It is part of a balanced diet; it has cucumber and tomatoes in it.

Next up was a visit to the old part of town. We got rather excited because we saw an old building with beautiful windows professing to be a ‘gallery’. However, on closer inspection, it was actually a surreal and empty shopping centre in which everything was closed. The rest of the town was less of an anti-climax; the sun was coming down as we walked across the square, so it made some lovely photos. There were gorgeous domes in the obligatory turquoise and narrow streets that made us feel as though we’d gone back in time. That’s probably why it’s referred to as the ‘old town’.

Inexpicable umbrella frame attached to a rock hanging from a phone wire. There were several of these.

This week I intend to be a lot more responsible with my time and try to find a definite day to write my blog each week. Work has been quite busy, so finding time during the week is a little tricky! Perhaps next Sunday, I will write something else – apologies for being so sporadic.

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