Salami and Chocolate Cake

Turtkul Travel Blog

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The national fabric: atlas cloth (from Chorsu Bazaar, Tashkent)

After the hubbub of the Buston wedding festivities it was time to transfer to the capital city once again. The Tashkent guests, Ogiljon, Aybek, Shohsanam and Jackie all left on a late night flight Sunday and I was scheduled to take the train with Gulchehra, Gulasal, my host mother Zebo and a holam, or an aunt, that left on Monday evening. The last day in Buston was a busy one, with me finalizing the registration process, meeting former students and packing right up to the last minute. All the hurrying was useless, as we waited on the Turtkul train station platform for nearly two hours for the delayed train originating in Saint Petersburg. We had moved all the way to the end of the platform, where we had been instructed our railcar would stop, but when the train finally came it was well beyond the end. So, we rushed with arms full of packages, bags and bundles of carpets and stuff that everyone else couldn't carry on the plane, and somehow managed to load everything onto the train before it took off a few minutes later. It was a wonder I didn't fall again, carrying about 6 things and hurrying along the thin strip of dirt between the train tracks and a ditch in complete darkness below and a blinding light shining above to block the view. Once we settled in, we began our ritual of eating non, salami and leftover chocolate cake.

Perhaps it should not have come as a surprise that by the time we got to Tashkent several of us were not feeling well. It could also have been the volumes of dust that seeped in through cracks in the windows on the train, which was not the private kupe car that we had on the way. Our train was platskartny, or open seating with benches for beds. As to be expected, I took the upper berth, but instead of being really high and spacious like the last train, it was a little easier to climb up to but not as big and felt like I was in a coffin with one side open. I didn't bother to take my shoes off, and since most Central Asians aren't as tall, my feet stuck out into the aisle bumping a couple random people in the head as they passed in the night. There was no room for my daypack either, so I put it next to my head rather than risk placing it under the table where it might get stolen. Besides the lungs full of dust, I managed to sleep a little on the way.

When we finally got back to Tashkent, the process of unloading was more arduous than the frenzied process we endured in Turtkul. Gulchehra, Gulasal and I took a taxi back to their place and it wasn't long after I took a shower I started feeling a little woozy. After throwing up everything from that night's dinner to the train salami, I turned right back around and had it coming out the other end. [Readers not familiar with Central Asia may find it odd to be discussing bathroom functions in detail, but I assure you this is quite normal so be prepared to expect it from time to time]. I noted at the time, with pride, that the fact I hadn't had diarrhea until almost two weeks into the trip could be considered progress.

I took various drugs--some I brought as well as some Gulchehra gave me--and fell asleep. Somehow I felt comforted in knowing that I was not the only one with their "insides leaving" as the Uzbek phrase for this condition is translated. But in a few days I was feeling better, and this experience was nothing close to the situations I encountered when I first learned what diarrhea really was. I'm sure I'll have worse situations to come, but nonetheless I am staying away from salami for awhile.

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The national fabric: atlas cloth (…
The national fabric: atlas cloth …
photo by: sayohat