We woke up early and had breakfast, then we were on our way out. Our first stop was the Oqsaroy Palace, the previous home of the tyrant Uzbek leader Islam Karimov. Apparently, they are eventually turning his old palace into a science museum, but when we looked in the windows all we saw were big empty rooms.
After wandering around for a while on the huge grounds we eventually found our way to the exhibition hall where they have two large rooms dedicated to the life of Karimov. One has some very interesting art and the other is full of photographs.
The staff was very friendly. They rushed around to find someone to translate for us. When we were about halfway through with our tour a nice woman who spoke fluent English came in. She told us all about the place and was eager to tell us what an amazing man Karimov was and all about the evils of Stalin. They took lots of pictures of us, they were very excited to have us sign their guest book. She explained to me how Karimov’s widow comes in frequently and reads the comment book and how much it means to her. They even gave us a really well made propaganda book about his life. We’ll keep it.
They were so kind and welcoming to us it reminding me of how people are falling for George Bush’s bullshit these days and thinking he’s just a sweet old man. They’ve all somehow forgotten he’s a war criminal. Awww…. but look at those cute little paintings he does. Isn’t he a cutie pie???
Next we went to get local SIM cards since we’re going to be here three weeks. It was completely painless and only cost us $7 for the month. After signing up we got a text saying we had to register our phones at the post office? So, we went to the post office. We walked in and after asking a few people if they spoke English we found someone that spoke enough he could explain what we needed to do and then guess what! We met someone from the US! It was our second time in two days! He’s been living six months in the US and six months in Uzbekistan since the 1990’s! Then!!!! Someone else walked up that lived in New York for ten years, and then!! She started LOL’ing because an old friend of hers she hadn’t seen in a long time walked up and got in line behind us, the two of them had met in New Jersey!! What a small world! We were all standing in line to register our new phone numbers in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The first guy gave us his number and said if we have any need at all to give him a call. That’s always good.
Then we went to the State Museum of Temurids History. They had some interesting stuff. A lot of their stuff we found the most interesting was about Samarkand but we’re going to be in Samarkand next week so I honestly didn’t look too close. It was a beautiful museum.
After that we went to get our car insurance. We were told we really, really have to get insurance while we’re here. We had been chatting with a guy from an insurance company all day via Telegram and we entered the address to the company to Yandex, the local Uber type company, and off we went. When we arrived the guy that opened the door looked confused and had no idea who we were. It turned out we were at the wrong place.
Same parent company, different type of insurance. This guy sold travel insurance while we were looking for the car insurance guy. This guy didn’t speak any English so we did all our communicating through Google Translate. Do you wanna know what he did? He put us in his own car and drove us to the other insurance office!!! Oh my god, the Uzbeks are nice! We got our car insurance.
We had originally planned to hit one more museum before calling it a day but we decided to stop there. We came back to our hotel, ate dinner, and now I’m sitting in bed typing this. The husband and kid are already fast asleep.
There are more things we want to do here but we’ve decided to press on. There are a couple reasons:
#1 We’re making a loop of the country meaning we’ll be back in Tashkent in 16 days
#2 Tashkent is only a 45 minute flight from Almaty. We can always come back. I seriously doubt we will ever again see any other part of Uzbekistan again for as long as we live, but if we really want to we could easily hop on a plane and come to Tashkent for a weekend.