I took my first flight in over one year! The last time I was in an airplane was early February 2020. Today, March 20, 2021 my family flew domestically from Tashkent to Nukus. We were so excited to go to the airport, go through security, board the plane, etc. I usually fly 5-8 times per year and the pandemic put a stop to that. It was strange to be on a plane again after so long. The flight was full with over 300 passengers so people are not afraid to fly in Uzbekistan. We are on our Spring Break and I really felt the need to get away from the city and school. It is a much needed respite.
It was a warm, rare rainy day in Tashkent Saturday. Spring is when we receive the most rain and as we start spring tomorrow, it is appropriate that it rained most of the day. In the morning I answered emails and completed a few items for school. I went for a short bike ride around the neighborhood and then packed and cleaned the house. We prepped Owen for a week alone. Our driver Ahat, delivered us to the national airport and we enjoyed the 1 hour, 25 minute flight across the country.
We landed in the Nukus, the capital of the autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan. This economically poor region the size of Oklahoma is located in the far west deserts of Uzbekistan. The Karakalpaks are a mixed ethnic Turkic group formerly living a nomadic lifestyle in these harsh lands. “Kara” means black and “kalpak” hat in their language. My initial impression is they look more Mongol or Kazakh than Uzbeks.
We are staying at the Jipek Joli which means “Silk Road” in the Karakalpakstan language. The letter j is pronounced like the Russian ж. Nukus has a population of around 350,000 people and reminded me of the outskirts of Guangzhou, China. The Soviets made this town with wide streets. Near our hotel, there are many new apartment blocks with businesses on the ground floor. We walked to Korzinka, one of the big national Uzbek chain grocery stores and bought some snacks. We had a delicious dinner at the hotel and went to sleep early.