In Tashkent, I figure I can do an AMA of sorts. I know some GTers have expressed interest in certain topics (FOOD!) but if you have any questions about living in the Uz, I am certainly willing to answer!

In other random news, we went shopping this morning to get some handmade goods to bring back for family. The amount of price gouging because we’re Americans was ridiculous. Fortunately, I knew it and walked out of most places. They don’t understand concepts of supply and demand here, but most of this was outright stupidity. Even our driver was shaking his head at most of them. At one madrasa shop, the guy wouldn’t negotiate with me when i offered a pretty low price (to get to a decent price). I had come back to his shop because I liked a suzani piece and he just wouldn’t negotiate. I even asked ‘what is your next price?’ and he just kept saying ‘handmade, silk’ etc etc. So I said ‘thank you. I’m done.’ and left. Went to the shop next door that we had been in before, but instead of the previous man, it was a lady. Turns out, this WAS the shop I was hoping to visit because they often come to the Embassy when we have craft fairs. She knew where we were from and offered her best prices first. She even said (after our driver told us about the previous shops) that the American Embassy is a great customer and if she gives a bad price or experience to one of us, we will tell all the others to not come to their shop. So it’s good for her to give us good prices. She told me her brother (who was in the shop before and gave us higher prices) was stupid LOL. I didn’t even negotiate because her prices were very reasonable. She gave me a trinket bracelet on the way out to ward off bad people (evil eye type stuff). We now have lots of suzani’s, some wood carved plates and an Uzbek hat. I’ll call it a successful day. If I stop being lazy, I’ll update it with some pics.