I usually wouldn’t do a blog post about a restaurant, but after months of quarantine, the city is opening. We took advantage of it and went to the Italian restaurant, L’Opera. It is adjacent to a large park which the restaurant used to physically distance diners. The area is quite lively with many restaurants, shops. It is close to the Alisher Navoi Opera House and it one of the more pleasant areas in Tashkent, especially on a late summer evening. Nadia, Ocean and her friend Asla dressed formally, I think they enjoyed it so much because during quarantine, we are mostly informally dressed.
Saturday I was the teenagers’ chauffeur, driving my three children to various social engagements. We do not want them using taxis yet. I counted 12 trips. My favorite was taking Oliver to the morning cross-country run with his friends along the canal. There were the usual senior citizens taking their morning swim and it was a bit busier than usual because sections of the canal were closed for university exams. Due to Covid, they are held outside, and this particular one was around the outside of Pakhtakor Stadium.
Owen and I played tennis on Tuesday and Friday this week. We had a doubles match on Uzbek Independence Day and had our usual practice session with Coach Igor on Friday. I’ve been working on my backhand and slice serve, while Owen is working on the mental aspects of the game. He has a fundamentally sound game from years of lessons in Serbia while he was in elementary school.
On Sunday afternoon I escaped city and thinking about school and cycled through the foothills outside of Parkent. The dusty hills reminded me of our hikes in the Los Angeles area. I kept thinking of the impact of livestock grazing on this environment. I wonder what it would look like with cows and sheep eating grasses on the hillsides.
On my way to Parkent, I noticed my first cotton field in Uzbekistan. September is harvest month here in Uzbekistan. The Soviets really built cotton agriculture here through collective farming and at one point, it was 70% of Soviet production. Uzbekistan is the 8th largest producer in the world and it accounts for 17% of its exports. The cotton industry requires a lot of irrigation and this in part has caused the Aral Sea to dry up.