Family Journal: Summer in Tashkent – July 13, 2020

The restriction on cars in the city has made my morning bike ride more enjoyable than ever. Before 7:00 AM, I practically have the streets to myself. I usually get out around 6:00 AM after tidying up the kitchen and living room. My routes are usually a loop and are about 40 kilometers (25 miles) and it takes about 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours, with stops. The best way to get to know a city is on foot or bicycle and I am certainly doing that this summer, especially with the lockdown preventing us from getting out into the countryside.

I often listen to podcasts while riding. It is only through one earphone so I can still hear traffic and ride safely. Cycling gives me time to think and I usually get some insight into something so I will try to note some of the best podcasts if I have time. Today I listened to Terry Gross interviewing of actor Mathew Rys about his role in HBO’s Perry Mason remake. He is Welsh and said an interesting comment about doing American accents. When he was playing opposite Tom Hanks in the Mr. Rodgers movie, he was less nervous because he was thinking about the American accent he had to do and the sound of it. I also get this, not with doing an American accent, but as someone who grew up with a stutter, I did not have the stutter when I spoke Spanish or sang. It is the same concept of being out of one’s normal self. Today when I have to make big speeches, I take solace in the microphone and the amplification of my voice. It soothes me and puts me out of myself and allows the fluency to come through. Stuttering is a fascinating neurological disorder and sheds some light on how are brain functions. I also got a phrase for British and Aussie speakers to try to say in an American accent, “a world of murderers”. The American “r” is tough enough, but three of them in that short phrase must be difficult to master. It also makes me want to watch the series, The Americans, that Rys starred in. 75 episodes is quite a commitment, however.

Hazrat Ali Mosque with “nan” Salesperson in the foreground

I always see interesting sites on my ride. Above is a photo of the Hazrat Ali Mosque, one of many mosques in the city. Ali was the cousin of Muhammed and the fourth caliph (over 1,300 years ago) and is an important figure in both Shia and Sunni Islam.

Milliy (National) Stadium

The neighborhood around the National Stadium is surprisingly nice, with many large trees, good roads and some modern buildings. The 34,000-seat stadium is home to one of the top Uzbek professional teams, Bunyodkor and many of the national team games. The sails surrounding the stadium are an inexpensive manner of giving it a distinctive touch.

The international airport remains eerily quiet, with the manicured park areas growing a bit long in the tooth. It reminded me of those post apocalypse movies and the remains of a once technologically advanced society becoming a distant memory. This is the longest I’ve not traveled internationally in a long time. It is good for the environment, but I miss experiencing new cultures and environments.

Nadia made Santa Cruz-style, Bolivian cheese empanadas yesterday. The deep-fried dough, filled with mostly air and a bit of white cheese and onion, sprinkled with powered sugar are divine! The Crucenos enjoy them as a late afternoon snack with tea.

My daughter devours the Santa Cruz Delicacies

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