We were woken up bright and early by the unstoppable Yuldash, who having stumbled to bed at two in the morning rather the worse for wear, was nevertheless raring to go by sunrise. After a quick breakfast, we were taken on a tour of the village, where we met the local primary and secondary school teachers for conversation in a mixture of German, English, and the usual broken Russian. This was followed by a game of durak – one of the great legacies of the Soviet Union – over several rounds of choy and a generous helping of mystery nuts, before a lunch of mantay (meat dumplings) washed down with mercifully small shots of vodka. Feeling rather mellow, we then rolled to a nearby field, which we raided for melons.
We headed home for an afternoon nap, but were foiled by a plague of flies and the the equally insistent, if rather more charming attentions of Yuldash’s children Javohir, Dinara and Atabek. Dinara was intrigued by my ipod, so I introduced her to Francis Poulenc, probably her first and last experience of twentieth century French choral music. She didn’t seem too impressed.
The household gradually woke up, and we ate a tasty portion of plov for dinner, followed by a stroll to meet the neighbours and indulge in delicious hot nan, fresh from the tandir (oven) (Ant, we hope you’re suitably jealous) and, even better, a huge mug of fresh milk. This day of culinary adventure was drawn to close by more rounds of choy (and beer, also drunk from tea cups) with Yuldash’s neighbours.