Tashkent: A Proper City

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

Seeing the many tree-lined streets and park fountains on a pleasant autumn Sunday, I start to form my initial thoughts on the sprawling capital city of Tashkent. Akmal drives me around town to give me an overview before I head out on foot.

“It’s huge,” I tell him, especially when comparing it to Almaty.

“Almaty is tiny,” he says. “This is a proper city.”

With a population of 2.3 million, Tashkent is Central Asia’s hub city, with the largest airport of the region, and many businesses in town. I’ll admit I had no idea this area, nor this city was as developed as it is.

“It feels very European,” I tell Akmal.

He chuckles. “That’s because of the weather today.” (It’s low 70°s F/19°C) “Usually it’s 40 degrees!”

A video posted by Erik (@theglobaltrip) on

Akmal and I stop in at the Central Asian Plov (pilaf) Centre, where different styles of plov are prepared in big kazans, and served to hundreds in a huge dining area.

Tashkent’s TV tower puts the Uzbekistani capital in the same league as Berlin, Seattle, and Toronto.

“I want to show you how the Uzbeks live,” Akmal tells me. Soon, he stops to pick up a hitchhiker who hailed his car down. I make out their conversation to be “Where ya going?”, a destination, and “Hop on in!”

The stranger gets in Akmal’s car and we take him about a mile away, in the direction we were going anyway. The guy gives Akmal 1000 som and goes on with his day.

“Anyone here can be a taxi,” Akmal tells me.

For lunch, we go to his former work lunch spot, Milliy Taomlar, which is a local chain with no brand consistency between locations. He orders his usual Norin — noodles with horse meat that you eat with your fingers, or with a spoon if you add it to broth. We also get a meat dish to share.

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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:
Exploring Tashkent

Previous entry:
Make It Rain


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