One fall weekend Hurshid, a young employee in our office, invited me to visit with his family in Kokand, a town 2-3 hours from Tashkent in the Ferghana Valley of Uzbekistan. I drove with Hurshid and his cousin until we got to the top of a pass marking the edge of the Ferghana Valley. We stopped for some local munchies.
After we descended into the valley we stopped again to buy delicious melons. Hurshid carried one then the young man selling them insisted that we take his picture too.
Before long we arrived at Hurshid's home where his father greeted us.
Then we headed off to Grandmother's house where we picked some Pomegranate.
Then we took off for a quick tour of the city. Uzbeks are rightfully proud of their doors. Many are intricately carved.
As we were slowly driving through the city we suddenly heard a horrible noise coming from under the hood. A quick examination revealed that the fan belt was starting too come apart -- a piece was sticking out and banging on the alternator every time it went around. After a bit of fussing around we were able to cut off the loose piece and continue on our way.
Back at home we found a delicious dinner waiting for us
The next morning we did some more exploring of the town and got a new fan belt. One stop was at a market where we found Uzbek caps.
The Ferghana Valley is famous for its apples and other fruit. We also got some yogurt
We visited a large mosque. And walked up the steep narrow steps of the minaret.
I didn't take enough pictures as I got caught up seeing the city. When we went back to the house it was time to cook Plov, the Uzbek version of pilaf with rice, carrots, more vegetables and some lamb. Pilaf is traditionally cooked outdoors in a huge wok over an open fire. Many Uzbeks eat plov every Thursday and Sunday evening. I didn't get tired of it in five years!
On the way home we stopped to admire the view from the top of the pass. Fortunately nobody fell off!