We completed our Winter Break and started with our Virtual Learning this week. The first few days back from a long holiday are always hectic with lots of people wanting to meet with me and it is the middle of teacher recruiting season. The weather improved this week and during the day, it is quite warm, going up to 10C! The snow returns next week however. In the winter I like to take night walks to get out of the house and beat the winter blues. My favorite neighborhood in Tashkent is around the Opera House so often I drive over there and take my dog Obi for a long walk in that area.
On Thursday we ran into an army division of around 50 soldiers marching through a walking street shopping district. I was wondering why they were singing “Uzbekistan”. After a bit of research, I discovered that January 14 is “Defender of the Fatherland” Day, which is a military holiday. This goes back to when Uzbekistan was part of the Soviet Union. It marks the day of the first big draft of the Russian “Red Army” in World War I. It is still celebrated in Russia and several former Soviet republics. Uzbekistan changed the date from February 23 to January 14 to celebrate the establishment of Uzbek military in 1992, shortly after independence. I didn’t notice any large parades or ceremonies, only the men marching and some cars in Temur Square with Uzbek flags.
I noticed Uzbeks and Central Asians in general, like LED colored lights. Many buildings, street posts, trees, restaurants, etc. are covered or outlined in lights. It makes for colorful walks in the evening. Above are some of the major buildings around the Opera House.
On my bike ride last week, I noticed this guy at a car wash (below). He is wearing the classic Central Asian winter gear. The robe and Russian-style fur hat. Most people wear Western-style winter jackets and hats, but there is a significant minority of the robes/fur hat wearers.