I am always extremely busy in the weeks leading up to the start of school. We just completed 10 days of welcoming the new faculty to Tashkent and finding accommodation for them. I have not had much time to blog.
One of the nice discoveries this week was the shashmaqam, an ancient Central Asian music genre that originated in the Uzbek city of Bukhara. The two musicians above were playing in the dining room of the Ichan Qal’a Hotel where the new teachers were staying. The music sounds exotic and vaguely from the Middle East and a bit sad. The lyrics of the classic songs come from Sufi poems of divine love. The guys were nice to oblige my request of recording them and they chose Turgun Alimatov’s song, “Nasri Segoh”. He was a celebrated Uzbek classical musician and traveled the world on solo tours, taking Uzbek music to the world.
I finally played tennis, the first time since my bicycle accident in June. My shoulder felt almost normal and I had no problems with my forehand and backhand, although I didn’t hit it as hard as I could. I am not ready to serve yet. Summer mornings on the court with my sons are heaven for me and the chance to hit with Oliver and Coach Igor was one of the highlights of my week!
We are eating about 1 watermelon (арбуз) and/or 1 torpedo melon (диня) every two days. Uzbekistan grows the best melons in the world and you see temporary stands all over the city. I snapped the photo above this morning on the corner of the street of the hotel. The guy covers the melons overnight and sleeps right there on the street! Because of the dry desert climate, there are little bugs in Tashkent, but it can’t be too comfortable, especially with temperatures in the 80s F overnight. It reached 100 F this afternoon! I love the heat of summer and taking a short dip in our pool to refresh myself. Melons and swimming are two of my many loves of summer, my favorite season!
This morning we took some of the new teachers to the flea market of Tashkent, Yangiabad. I’ve blogged about it before. Today I explored the animal dry market and of course, Wuhan came to my mind. There were all sorts of parakeets and song birds, chickens, turkeys, turtles, etc. close together in unregulated conditions. I quickly made my way through, but did want to save the cute hedgehog and release on our school grounds. It seemed to me as prime conditions for a viral species jump, although I didn’t see any slaughter of the animals on site.