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Old 23rd April 2020, 02:02 PM   #16
SQueeze
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And the main city square is centred around this mosque which is adjacent to a medressa. Both look similar actually. What distinguishes a mosque is a minaret.





Inside it, austere, and beautiful even in its simplicity. How did they create this effect without 3D modelling visuals. They were very experts in geometry and architecture indeed.






This is the Talon minaret, supposedly highest in Central Asia. Legend says that when Genghis Khan razed the city, he stood under it, looked up and his helmet fell. He found it too tall that his head had to look so high up heavenwards. He spared this and for many centuries to come, this stands the test of time and is also a place of execution. Gory.





From afar, it does not look like much but from nearby, one can’t help but be filled with wonder. It has such an exquisite craftmanship of bare bricks without decoration.





Just nearby is the old bazaar. The only sad thing about Central Asia now is that aside from their visual grandeur, the hustle and bustle has long gone. The world has moved on and they have lost their centre of the empire status and they are now more like backwaters. So the bazaars here feel very sad with not much activity. It is nowhere 1% of the Istanbul Grand Bazaar for example.









Just like in Samarkand, there are no chain hotels. And we stayed in a lightly restored old mansion. There is just pure charm here. It’s like stepping back in time.





We had a really nice breakfast spread





Uzbek food is delicious, especially comparing it with Kazakhstan.

The national dish is the Plov ( cousin of pilaf, briyani, and fried rice). It is a complex flavour of meat, dried fruits, nuts, and many spices.





Kebabs too just like across Central Asia





And this is one of my favourite dish in this trip – the Lagman (cousin of lamian). They come in dry and semi dry versions too but this soupy version was best I had in this trip. Fresh and light and comforting for a winter day.



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Old 23rd April 2020, 02:03 PM   #17
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Returning to Tashkent, we took the afternoon high speed train which would conveniently connect with our flight back to Delhi.

This time, being a longer journey, there were more services.

There was ear piece for the overhead IFE.








And there was airplane-style meal service between Samarkand and Tashkent which is the high yield sector. But it was just a simple snack service.





We reached Tashkent in the late evening and from there we caught a taxi to the international airport to catch our flight. Bye bye Uzbekistan. You are a true gem that deserve to have more people to know about your beauty.

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Old 23rd April 2020, 02:08 PM   #18
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Part 4: Tashkent – Delhi

Flight: Uzbekistan Airways
Number: HY421
Aircraft: 767-300
Registration: UK-767XX
Seating: 2C
Load: 80%


This will be a short segment.

We arrived at the international terminal, dropped outside the gate, and had to lug our bags to the departure building on the 2nd storey.





We repeated the same cycle of going through the VIP section. This time we were already very familiar with it.

And then the lounge (same one as in Part 1).

And then off to Delhi, this time on the ever rarer 767-300ER. Before the 787 arrived 3-4 years back, they were HY’s major workhorses for their long hauls.

Layout is 2-1-2 and this time I picked the throne seat.





Legroom is not much and these seats are not fully reclining to a flat bed. They are more similar to those on SQ’s 747s.





Seat controls are like this.






The crew was very friendly and was very much energetic. Business class was almost full and Economy class looked very full.


Supper started with a spread of appetiser, cheese, dessert, and nuts in one plate. Bound for India, this entire platter is vegetarian.




For the main course, I think there were 3 options and I picked the plov. It was delicious. I am going to miss plov. For sure.





It was heavy, as are all plovs. So I had to have tea after that. The friendly crew insisted on me having a dessert so there it was a dessert, and yes there was already a muffin all along. Uzbekistan does serve a lot of food and they will insist you try. Central Asian hospitality.





End Note

This brings us to the end of the report. My impression of the airlines is average to good. They have decent hardware, and a friendly enough set of crew. Some is very warm, some are not so. It depends but generally they are fine, especially after they know you. Punctuality is a concern because all sectors except for one was delayed by an hour or more and not just due to weather but for unknown unexplained reasons. The food is not the most creative and modern so fans of fine dining and fine wine like yflyer will be disappointed, haha. But they were tasty enough.

The country itself is mindlowingly beautiful. They deserve more tourists. And please consider going when it is still not too crowded yet. It is extremely cheap too. Taxis are 50 cents to $1.50. Meals are about $5-8 even in good restaurants. Hotels about $40-80 will be good enough. Note that most places do not accept credit cards and cash is king. So be prepared to stash those notes and bring and bag, not a purse.

Thank you for reading and I hope this has made a good reading during quarantine times. Stay home and stay safe everyone

Last edited by SQueeze; 24th April 2020 at 06:38 AM..
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Old 27th April 2020, 10:37 PM   #19
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What a wonderful TR, SQueeze!!

Amazing flights, scenery and food too!

Too bad you didn't fly on any of the Soviet era aircraft that were parked at Tashkent Airport...would have been quite an experience!

The catering on Uzbekistan Airways looks quite interesting...at the very least quite different from Western or Asian Airlines. Glad alcohol is available onboard on request...

Really enjoyed reading about your experience on HY's Tashkent - New York Dreamliner service...I've always enjoyed these long transcontinental flights, whether in Y or J, and Dreamliner J is always fun to fly, whatever the cabin config.

The food in Uzbekistan really looks quite mouthwatering...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SQueeze View Post
The food is not the most creative and modern so fans of fine dining and fine wine like yflyer will be disappointed, haha. But they were tasty enough.
On the contrary...it all looks so delicious!

Lovely pics of Samarkand too...beautiful architecture!

Thanks for sharing!

Last edited by yflyer; 27th April 2020 at 10:46 PM..
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