I live in a modern, brand new house three kilometers from the center of the city. It is at the end of a short street with half a dozen houses on it. All the houses are surrounded by walls, as they are in most of the city. I have a spacious living room with twelve foot ceilings and big windows. I haven't tried the fireplace yet, but Andre (my landlord) assures me that it works fine.
The kitchen is also big and bright, with plenty of cabinets but not much counter space. It has a modern refrigerator, a gas stove (that is fine except that the oven dial has no temperature indicator -- only from one to ten) and a microwave oven.
I also have an office with comfortable chair, a big desk and lots of bookshelves. On the floor is a small handmade rug I bought in Turkey.
I also have a small guest room, so there is plenty of space for visitors! From my house it is less than a ten minute walk to two small grocery stores and a fifteen or twenty minute walk to what passes for a supermarket in Tashkent and to the Metro (subway).
My office is also in a brand new building a kilometer or two from the center of the city. It has a big central area with four offices. Each office has a big window to the central area and two offices have floor to ceiling windows to the outside. Now we have three economists, two interpreters, a lawyer, a computer specialist and an office manager. I am the only permanent foreign advisor in this office though we have many advisors coming for stays of two weeks or two months or longer.
Our assignment is to work with four economic think tanks in Uzbekistan to improve their ability to provide economic policy analysis to the Government and others. The centers are associated with government bodies (the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economics, Central Bank and President's Apparatus) and get some funding from the state budget each year, but they depend on outside contracts for much of their revenue.
Uzbekistan has opened up its economy less than most of the other republics of the former Soviet Union. They also experienced less of a decline in their living standards following their independence. The economy is heavily dependent on exports of gold and cotton. Both are commodities that can easily be sold anywhere in the world, so they are not as dependent on the Russian market as some of the other republics. Some foreign economists doubt that Uzbekistan will undertake significant reforms soon, while others see the beginning of movement. I will wait until next year to express my opinion!