With the weekend that had just past taking all our energy from us, today was considerably calmer. With no plans for the morning, some of us slept for a few hours, while others stayed awake and just relaxed in the dorms. Once we were rested (ish) we made our way to a nearby restaurant for lunch, selling burgers and chips, the first taste of home we’ve had since being here. Although some wanted to make the most of the traditional Uzbek cuisine while we were here, it was a light relief for others, who were more than happy to devour a burger (me being one of them!) just this once. In the afternoon we had a session with the British Ambassador in Uzbekistan, Christopher Allan and Dr Sodyq Safoev, talking about the main threats and opportunities that face Uzbekistan at this time. With the chance to ask and answer questions, this session for me has been by far one of the best. Christopher was knowledgable, and although in Uzbekistan it was interesting to get another Western opinion voiced on the country and his take on the potential Uzbekistan has.
The evening was soon upon us and although many were feeling tired earlier in the day, we had sparked up again come the evening, so decided we would go out for dinner and have a drink (a reward for dealing with that night train, yes I’m still talking about that, and no ‘ll probably never stop talking about it). We continued late into the night, with he WIUT students, enjoying socialising and getting to know each other in a less formal environment. A number of suspect dance moves later, it was time to sleep, ready to start a new day tomorrow, hopefully with a few less daytime naps!
On Tuesday, we were told that we would be involved in a Model United Nations, with no previous experience taking part in this, and having to represent Uzbekistan in front of a room full of Uzbeks, it made for an interesting hour. With a few people getting very carried away and committed to their representative countries, it ended up being a somewhat amusing session. With Tuesday drawing to an end, all that was left was sporting activities, on the list was badminton, football, chess and table tennis. With the heat putting a few of us off too much physical activity, I, along with a few other opted for table tennis, which turned out to be a lot of fun, even though we didn’t end up playing for long. To finish off the day we ended with dinner, consisting of the traditional Uzbek dish, Palov, topped with lamb and horse meat the rice based dish included onion, carrot, garlic, garbanzo beans and oil.
With only two days to go, Wednesday involved a day trip to the Sun Institute, which meant an hours drive outside of Tashkent and after one of the buses taking us broke down one hour turned into two. Weirdly enough the weather took an unexpected change, with cloud coming over, the rain started to pour down and didn’t stop for most of the day. The purpose of the institute is to gain solar energy, with temperatures of 3000 degrees being reached. Although raining, we were given a tour of the institute, which also included climbing 15 stories high, on an open staircase, located on the outside of the building, this experience was not for those scared of heights and the few people that decided against climbing up, made a good decision. Returning to the bus like we had just had a shower, we headed back to the dorms to change, before heading out for the evening. We decided we wanted to head to the shopping mall to get dinner and take a look around the shops, all of which we did, except when I say dinner, I actually mean a giant Belgium waffle! It seems weird to be writing this with only one day left, our time here has flown by, yet we have managed to do so much and I’m excited to see what the final day has in store for us.