The Uzbeks like their tea sweet. Very sweet. You see hunks of crystallised sugar for sale wherever you go. You see it in huge, tumbling piles in bazaars, or in deep filled boxes in shops.
It seems that by middle age most adults have a set of golden gnashers. It’s not uncommon to see them on younger people too. I think partly it’s the sugar, but it’s also a status symbol. When speaking, I found it hard not to be mesmerised by their golden mouth. When you’re used to seeing white teeth, the gold makes the mouth seem very dark.
Many of the women in Uzbekistan, particularly in Samarkand, wear wonderful, colourful dresses. Sequins and diamanté are stitched into the pattern, it shimmers in the sunlight, dazzling your eyes. I felt very dowdy and underdressed in my quick-dry t-shirt and walking sandals. Not at all feminine.
Some women sport a fetching monobrow. I asked our guide, Bek, about it. It’s Tajik fashion and apparently it’s drawn on, though on some it looked very authentic.
I even saw one on a two year old girl. I’m assuming it was drawn on…but you never know!
We’ve seen very few white faces here. We’re quite a novelty. And are treated as such when we go out and about. I doubt many visitors venture far from the Tugu Hotel, and I don’t blame them. If I’d been staying a night or two – as it seems most other guests have – I too would have enjoyed the lovely hotel and then moved on. But boy, are they missing a trick!
The people of Blitar are so, so friendly and kind. We’ve been invited to people’s houses, had our hands shaken, and offered breakfast. People were happy to have their photos taken and in return they took photos of us. Continue reading →
We are staying in Blitar in east Java for a week. We chose Blitar purely and simply because there is a Tugu Hotel here that we could afford to stay in for more than one night. We loved our experience of the Tugu Hotel in Malang so much that we wanted to it to last longer…but at a more affordable price. So we have decamped to its ‘poorer cousin’ in Blitar to enjoy the hotel, its afternoon teas and, as it turns out, its super-good internet.
Entrance to the Tugu Hotel
Blitar isn’t on the tourist map as such, which makes you wonder why the hotel is here. When we arrived, we doubled the number of guests staying here – although others arrived, and departed, over the coming days. Continue reading →