Thanks to My Uzbek Connection

Antica B&B, Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Tuesday, October 21, 2014.

Thousands of miles away in northern India, my friend @Gldncrl — who had introduced me to Akmal in Tashkent — is on her way to Bhutan, when she realizes something about the Hotel Antica, where I’d mentioned I was staying at in Samarkand. She sends me a group Facebook message with “Diora,” just as I’m waking up.

“Hi Erik, Diora’s family runs hotel Antica. She also knows Davlat, who you met in NYC. I wrote her another message trying to find out if she is in Samarkand. If she is you should meet!”

This excites me: “We met yesterday!”



The Antica B&B is a family-run place, founded by two sisters, Aziza and Kutbiya, who used to be tour guides as far back as the Soviet days. Long story short, they eventually started hosting people, and more people, and expanded their accommodation rooms surrounding their pleasantly leafy green courtyard… and now have a well-recommended B&B (and often times D) that they run together with relatives and close friends. Diora, who I met the day before when I arrived, is Kutbiya’s daughter, who had met Erin (@gldncrl) when she had been studying abroad in Uzbekistan.

Finally, Diora chimes in on the group messages, after reading the exchange and seeing the pictures I sent of Erin and me together. “Omg! The world is so small!!!!”

“Yes it really is!!!,” Erin writes.

“Diora I’m going to shower and come to breakfast,” I reply.

Small world indeed.

“Erik! You have a common friend with Diora,” Aziza says to me when I step out of my room at the Antica B&B. Word got around fast. She too was amazed at how it was a small world.

Diora is nursing her beautiful three-month-old daughter Darina, when we meet after breakfast. We chat for a bit until I’m called away briefly by her aunt, who needs me to help out moving the furniture back to the courtyard since it had rained the night before. I’m happy to help out the family now that we have more of a connection. With that done, we sit in the courtyard for conversation.

It’s funny that we had sat at the same table the day before and had a total different conversation, one mostly about the city and services available. Now, with @Gldncrl in common, we have a better bond like we are old friends — more than a random faceless Facebook connection anyway.

“There’s a wedding tonight. You should go. There will be dinner, and dancing…” she informs me. Her aunt’s cousin’s son (or something like that) who used to work at the hotel is about to get hitched.

“Yeah, I think that would be fun,” I accept.

Sadly, Diora wouldn’t go since she had the little Darina to take care of, but I’d have other company from the family, along with a few lucky tourists who also thought attending an Uzbek wedding might be fun.


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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:
Registon of Savings

Previous entry:
Brooklynites in Samarkand


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