Kralovec Family Journal: August 21, 2020

I loved watching my wife Nadia and my son Owen during our Home Partnership Visit with one of Owen’s teachers. We started online this week due to the pandemic and the school arranged Zoom visits with families to make everyone feel part of a community. I was at school in my office and Nadia and Owen were home. Owen is a senior this year and this is sadly, his last year at home with us before he leaves next year for university. Both Nadia and I are savoring every moment with him this year!

Oliver and Obi

My other son Oliver and I drove up to the former Soviet mining town of Yangiobad. The uranium mine is long gone and today it is a run-down, summer vacation town located in a narrow valley in the Chatkal Mountain Reserve. We saw European Bee-eaters which was a highlight for me. There is a youth camp / hostel that is popular with school groups and the area is full of hiking opportunities. It was quite beautiful and worth the 2-hour drive. I want to explore more of it. The old workers’ apartments are quite dilapidated, the asphalt full of potholes and many signs of poverty, but the place has an interesting story. The town used to be off-limits to the general public and reserved only for engineers and employees of the mine. There were several industrial looking buildings that warrant some more exploration. It was nice to spend the afternoon alone with Oliver and we took our dog, Obi. He always enjoys getting out into nature.

A statue of the Russian composer Tchaikovsky in front of the municipal building in Yangiobad.

As you can see in the photo above, Tchaikovsky’s fingers have fallen off his statue, an apt metaphor of a town that has seen better days. On the drive to the town, we noticed a large coal-burning electrical plant.

Coal-burning Electrical Plant

To end this post, my daughter Ocean and I went for a longer than expected walk with Obi last night along the Anhor Canal in the city. On the way back, we were redirected by national guardsmen about 300 meters from our car. They shut off the area for some reason and we had to work our way around the Pakhator Stadium and through some parks to get back to the parking lot. It was OK because it meant we spent more time together and Obi got more exercise. It was also a mini-adventure for Ocean as she was a bit apprehensive about walking at night through the dark park.

Ocean and Obi

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