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Monday, August 02, 2004

Out of Tashkent in the nick of time!

Most of you have probably heard by now that there were two suicide bombings in Tashkent on Friday, one in front of the US embassy, the other in front of the Israeli embassy. I'm still not sure what time of day the attacks took place, but I left at around 3pm for a city far east in the Fergana Valley called Andijan. On the highway there the road passes through a tunnel and the guards there did seem to be fairly alert -- perhaps this state of readiness was a result of the attacks, or maybe they are always like this.

Strangely enough, I had heard from some others that the Indonesian embassy has a lunch special on the grounds and I headed over there on Friday with two other guys. The Indonesian embassy in Tashkent happens to be right across the street from the British mission and down the street from the French one but I saw no evidence of much security at either place and no police around at all. Because of this, I'd be surprised if the attacks took place while I was still in Tashkent.

My lunch was not great, but a welcome change from the "cuisine" of Central Asia.

Andijan proved to be a little disappointing, but to be completely honest I don't know what I was expecting beyond a medium sized-town in the Fergana Valley. I moved on to Fergana town, mostly because of it's proximity to another town, Margilan, supposedly famous for its market and silk factory. The silk factory was closed and the market like others I've seen in Central Asia. I decided not to go back today (Monday) to see the factory and moved again, to Kokand.

I'll be returning to Tashkent in the next day or so and I'll post more before too long.