School and Bukhara

Trip Start Jan 15, 2005
Trip End Apr 27, 2006

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Flag of Uzbekistan  ,
Monday, February 14, 2005

This past week, the Health Volunteers were split up. Some of us went to the clinic and some to the medical school and some to a grade school/high school. I went to the grade school/high school. It was about what I expected. They had electricity they did not have heat but they were raising money to get the heat taken care of. The students were all delightful. We sat in on a 5th Form health class (which is what I would be teaching. Well, health anyway) and then we sat in on a 11th Form class and asked them about their health education. During that session, it became rather humorous because Timor (one of our technical instructors) speaks English and Russian. Our language teacher (Delfusa) Speaks Uzbek and Russian and a current volunteer (Sun) who came with us speaks Uzbek and English. Timor would ask the students a question in Russian and if he became involved in the answer and didn't take time to translate for us, Delfusa would translate it from Russian into Uzbek for Sun and Sun would translate it into English. Of course Timor would give a more detailed translation when his conversation was done. When we introduced ourselves to the classes, they would call me Lola. Timor said that is probably what I would be called in Uzbekistan.

This weekend, 16 of us went to Bukhara. It was a 12 hour train trip there. We were broken down into groups of 4 so that we wouldn't stand out so much. Well, we got to the trainstation in Bukhara and then got a taxi to our hotel which peace corps had set up for us. Back home my mom had said that when she visits me here, she would like to stay in a bed and breakfast. Well, that became a joke in my familyl. What the heck is my mother thinking!! I joked about that in the taxi (sorry mom) on the way to the hotel. Hmm... can't find the hotel. Hmm... this english speaking man that we just found has a nice place to stay in the old town. Hmm... what would peace corps say. So, we called peace corps made sure we could stay there and then, lo and behold!! It was a bed and breakfast!! too funny!! Then, we got a phone call at the hotel. It was a peace corps volunteer living in bukhara. We made plans to meet him and he took us around the old town. I was able to see the Minaret. (I just know I spelled that wrong) and many of the old buildings. The Minaret was there when ghenghis khan came through this area. He destroyed everything in the town except for that. Now all the old buildings are places to sell stuff to the tourists. Bargain! You have to bargain. I walked into one place and found something I liked and she told me $15 dollars, what you pay? I said 8. She said no $12 I said $8 no 12. So, I walked out. She came running after me!! Okay, $10. Okay. so, I bought it. There is a man here who sells nearly every spice you can think of. I had seen pictures of him before. Now, I have my own picture of him. His shop is just a window. but it smells wonderful! I bought some spice choi (tea) yum! And right across from him a place to get fur hats. But, when you walk into the back room there are all these beautiful handmade rugs!! Bargain bargain bargain!! He is willing to give us (the peace corps volunteers) the rugs and then we can pay later. good to know!! Very nice people. Really!
Food. Food is pretty bland here. Personally, I really like a lot of the food. The national dish is osh. Rice, carrots, some pieces of meat and sometimes raisons. Wonderful! An atkins diet would not work here because all we eat are carbs. Rice, potatos, bread! They love there bread. It is called non. You can not place the bread upside down on the table. That is disrespectful to the bread. You can not waste any of the bread. I don't know what my family does with the tiny pieces. generally, they are not thrown away. And shashlik! Love shaslik. It is like a shiskabob.
We have a lot of soups here. Usually with potatos and carrots. All of the food is made with cottonseed oil. If your stomach has handled it this far, you should be okay. I should be okay.
One of my taxis was pulled over for nearly hitting a car. (center line? what center line? Really, they often cross that center line. we call the front passenenger seat the death seat.) We were not asked a single question because they only wanted to give him a ticket. I have never been in a taxi when it was pulled over before.

Oh! and I completely understand that americans are the best joke of the day. I have small pictures of some of my friends that I carry around with me. When I think of it, I put their pictures in front of something that seems very Uzbek and take their picture. I know, I am a freak. I did that at the hotel. as soon as I snapped the picture, I heard giggling and turned around and there was a boy and a worker of the hotel (b&b) laughing at me. I showed them what I had in my hand and they just shook their head.

Oh! we should not shake water off of our hands after we wash them. Water is precious here and shaking it off disrespects it and invites bad luck.

Take care!
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lbmarek on

someone in Bukhara
I can contact a friend of mine who lives there. She learned how to speak English by speaking with the tourists in the old town. Once I get her permission to give you her email address, I will send it on to you.

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