United Nations in a Tiny Town
Ayny Travel Blog› entry 30 of 83 › view all entries
I left Panjakent in the morning in a taxi bound for Istaravshan and because Uzbek was understood by the three other passengers and driver Bahtiyor, I had compelling conversations about American politics and culture. However, it was in the small town of Ayni that I found out Barack Obama would be the next US president. At noon I arrived and was soon greeted by a friend of a friend of a friend of mine, who escorted me to his office (he was a director of some government office) and shortly introduced me to English-speaking Subhiddin, a worker for the United Nations Development Project in town. Subhiddin showed me the "sights" of Ayni, which amounted to a crumbling 10th century minaret known as Varz-i-Minor in the center of town and surrounded by a newly constructed lighthouse-shaped casing that was supposed to help it weather the elements better.
After lunch we picked up my backpack and headed for the "hotel" in town, which also happened to be the headquarters for the UNDP. There I met Khurshed, who spoke perfect English and we chatted for awhile. Everyone there spoke English except the guards.
In the morning, I returned for breakfast at the oshxona down the street and after packing up, got a ride with Umed and driver Bobo to the police checkpoint where I easily scored a front seat with a Russian jeep headed for Istaravshan. It would have been nice to stay another day in sleepy Ayni just to enjoy the simplicity of life and chat with the UNDP guys. Although there wasn't much to see there, it was a pleasant little stop and I was well taken care of by the United Nations. Thanks, guys...hope we will meet again!