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Uzbekistan Adventures: Found in Translation

May 10, 2014


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With internet issues during the recent trip to Uzbekistan, I have decided to journal my trip to Uzbekistan now that I am back in the States–telling tales of the journey.

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Many of these reflections were indeed written while in Tashkent or Samarkand and all of the photos were taken during our nine day visit.  Some posts will include reflections after the fact and some will simply state what was happening.  I was travelling with my partner, Rebecca, and we both had many of our assumptions about Uzbekistan turned upside down.  Rebecca is the author of most of the photos that will be shared.

We share these photos and reflections to try and communicate what a remarkable place the Ilkhom Theatre is, filled with incredible energy and talents; what a beautiful country Uzbekistan is, home to Samarkand and other places one has only read about; and what a welcoming and generous presence we found while discovering the charm and lure of Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The driving force behind this journey was a presentation of my new play Dance On Bones at the Festival of American Culture at the Ilkhom Theatre of Mark Weil.  What the trip turned into was the opportunity to connect with artists from Tashkent as well as Seattle who were in residence as part of the Seagull Project; the chance to glimpse a culture on the other side of the world and smell, taste, and breathe with the people for a moment; and the chance to rediscover my own passions and identity as a playwright.

Uzbekistan is an incredible place, it defied every expectation, and extended a welcoming embrace wherever we went.

 

Where is Uzbekistan?

Uzbekistan is in Central Asia. Nine timezones from my home in Baltimore, Maryland (39.2833° N, 76.6167° W).  A main thoroughfare on the Silk Road; the capital city is Tashkent (41.2667° N, 69.2167° E), an outpost between the mountains and the desert.

Official language:  Uzbek (though many speak Russian and some speak English); Uzbek has roots in a combination of EasternTurkic and Farsi, but has influences also from Arabic and Russia.

Currency:  Som (exchange rate approx.. 2,280 Som = $1 during our visit)

Uzbekistan was a member of the USSR from 1924 until 1991.  Prior to its incorporation into the Russian Empire in the 18th century, the area now known as Uzbekistan was part of the Persian Samanid and Timurid empires.

 

So now we know where we’re going, but there’s a bit of a story leading up to our departure, which will have to wait until next time.

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