Farewell Akmal

Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on Sunday, October 19, 2014.

Akmal had been such a great and helpful host for my stay in Tashkent. (Thanks for the introduction, @gldncrl!) To thank him and his family, I took them out to dinner, to this new place down the block they hadn’t tried yet. It had outdoor seating, and two indoor areas, one of which evolved into a dance club where a bunch of dudes got down on the dance floor to Arab dance tunes mixed in with Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What.” (VIDEO)


Akmal, his wife Nodira, daughter Nozila, and I moved to the quieter area to eat and chat without having to yell at each other over the noise. We dined on laghman, and three types of shashlik: beef, chicken, and lamb. “This is really good,” Akmal said, approving of this new restaurant. “Some places it comes out dry.” Meanwhile, Nodira and Nozila were playing Candy Crush on Akmal’s iPhone, with the spare external battery I gifted them.

The bill came out to 68,300 som and since I was a millionaire, I paid cash with all one’s and one 500 som note. I made it rain 69 times (heheh #69) and then we called it a night.

Back at the apartment, Akmal helped me set up my onward travel through the country, as I would spend the next week visiting the main sites on the Silk Road tourist trail. He negotiated locals’ rates for upcoming hotels and B&Bs over the phone, and I knew that I was in good hands, even when I’d leave him.

“You can always call me if you have any problems, or if you’re trying to negotiate a price,” he told me. It was good that I had bought a local SIM card for cheap so that I could do so.

The next morning, after we had an early breakfast, Akmal negotiated a taxi fare for me to get to the main railway station. It was Monday, and he had to get back to his weekday routine.

“Thank you for everything. Let me know when you’re ever in New York,” I told him. I turned to the taxi, but then turned back. “Chong rakmat,” I thanked him. He smiled and said what I assumed was “You’re Welcome” in Uzbek— that was my best guess anyway.


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This dispatch is one of over 70 travel dispatches from the trip grouped and titled, "The Global Trip: 'Stan By Me." It's an archived compilation of Instagram and Facebook posts which chronicled a trip through three countries in Central Asia: Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.

Next entry:
Fast Train to Samarkand

Previous entry:
Exploring Tashkent


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