Uzbekistan during tourism seasons reminds Babylon – it is a pandemonium of languages and cultures.
Still, Russian speaking tourists are dearer and closer to our hearts than tourists from the rest of the world. We should thank the Russian language for that which within 70 years in Central Asia became Esperanto – Russians, Kyrgyz, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Turkmens use it for communication. Unlike the Arabic language, which once used to be commonly used all over the East, the Russian language did not suppress national languages but gained national notes itself yet at the same time keeping its purity. Foreigners in Uzbekistan can be helped, suggested, fed but usually it is impossible to fulfill a wish of “Talking about life” – it is one of the most outstanding features of Uzbekistan people – a philosophical talk while drinking a cup of green tea. No matter from which Russian city the guest comes from, his Uzbekistani interlocutor has a brother, father of the son-in-law, or friend’s son there or he used to visit the city himself or served in the army there.
Many Russians come to Uzbekistan answering the call of nostalgia. They come here and touch the changed city perplexedly – where is old Alayskiy? Where are the wooden gates of Gospitalka? Here a Jewish shoemaker used to sit, and there, in front of the fountain, used to be a small shop. Tashkent welcomes them with the urban landscape in which verdure and blue sky dissolved; with numerous foreign cars on wide roads and too clean, in European style, bazaars… Only sometime later, when sitting in a small chaykhona on the bank of Akhnor in a company of close people, they make sure that old friends remain the same – the same funny, hospitable, generous – it can only happen that they have become several kilos heavier and inside their newly renovated house inner yards there are Nexias but not VAZes.
Those who have never been to Uzbekistan are full of stereotypes. They wonder at seeing short skirts of local beauties, wonder to availability of night clubs and are happy with attractive prices. Later, they will be telling with astonishment how they stopped to take a photo of a house in Bukhara and were called from there, set at the ayvan under the vineyard, and were offered to drink a cup of tea. Or how they were bitten by a wasp and a whole crowd gathered around discussing how to help and the scale of the help overcame the level of the problem. Or how they were treated to the apples from the garden and flatbread from the bakery and were not just explained the route but showed and accompanied. They will forget all historical facts and picturesque names told by the guide, but they will always remember the aroma of the melon and the air of this hospitable land.
Our hospitality is not ostentatious, it is not for the sake of earning more or be liked. Uzbekistan people need It themselves, it is on a genetic level, in blood. Guest is the most longed-for interlocutor. It is interesting to listen to him, to wonder, to smile at his delight.
And of course, to feed him, to offer the best and to present a memorable gift…