Joined February 2016 Message
  • Day5

    The Bankiet

    April 25, 2016 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ☀️ 39 °C

    Tragically I don't have any decent photos of this fine occasion to share yet but hope I manage to give a flavour. As ladies here like nothing more than glamour and sparkle, even for day wear, you can imagine that the grand party to end the conference was quite something. Rather disappointingly, it was held at the same place we ate everyday so more good but repetitive salads & greasy soup with lumps of mutton fat ( a great speciality of the region) was the order of the day. This time it was outside though so we set off anxiously with jackets etc as though hot in the daytime there was a nip in the air of an evening - due I guess to the proximity of snowy mountains. Oddly ( and v differently from previous visits) alcohol was barely to be seen so great was the joy of me & my 2 rather dour colleagues from NL Latvia when Farida produced a bottle of Kazakh cognac which the director of NL Uzbekistan then felt obliged to second with an Uzbek bottle- if ever faced with the dilemma of which to choose, go for Kazakh 😊As is the way in these parts it is rude to sip at your drink as & when - all drinking is done communally after elaborate toasts. Luckily I was sitting next to Irakli from Georgia & as Georgians are known for their love of toasts thAt can go on for 15 mins, I didn't have to rise to the occasion myself. There was fantastic live music all night long starting off with local trad more classical stuff followed by 4-5 different singers who did a number from the country of each esteemed foreign guest except me!! I didn't complain however as the evening grew more & more riotous - despite the dearth of booze. Our Uzbek colleagues were very keen to get us on the dance floori & my N African moves stood me in good stead. Higlights were the usually morose Czechs boogying on down to various cheesy Russian hits from the 80s, but best of all the usually solemn director of the NL South Korea's very ideosyncratic interpretation of gangnam style. Once seen, never forgotten😂 How we laughed at the idea we might be chilly as we were spun round the dance floor by glittering gold- teethed ladies & gents alike! It did leave me with a wonderful sense of how that Soviet legacy of Russian language as a lingua franca across such a huge swathe of Europe & Asia is a wonderful thing & it feels a bit sad that for new generations it will be replaced by English...Read more

    Chrissie Zmroczek

    It all sounds fab to me, but no doubt exhaust

    Chrissie Zmroczek

    Exhausting was what I intended to say,....look forward to hearing more

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  • Day4

    Samarkand- Friday

    April 24, 2016 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    After the first session on Friday am the organisers took pity on we useless non- Uzbek speakers and decided the interpretation was inadequate so the cause of international library solidarity would be better served by taking us on a sightseeing tour. Despite our protests they insisted😀 So we unexpectedly went straight to the most iconic of sights- the Registan. Although this was my third visit, the exquisite decoration on the three huge & imposing medressas facing into the square will always make one gasp. Another thing which adds to the delight of it all is the fact that loads of local people go there for a grand day out in splendid traditionally influenced outfits which adds an extra dimension of wonder to it all. Overcome by the whole experience I bought an antique suzane (embroidered throw type of thing) which in hindsight I am not sure I like 😟from a shop in one of the old cells where the medressa students used to live. After lunch of tasty but v greasy plov tempered by the usual wonderful fresh salads, super-sized sweetly crisp radishes & piles of unusual herbs in a local wedding palace turned conference catering venue where we ate
    every meal ( it got a bit tedious) we then went off to the splendid Bibi Khanum mosque - she was Timur (Tamerlaine's) Chinese wife. Legend has it that the architect fell madly in love with her and refused to complete the work unless she let him kiss her & as a result Timur insisted women should be veiled. Probably a load of twaddle though as other people told us veiling was not traditional in Samarkand for most of its history. Next aided by well-seasoned bargainers Farida from NL Kazakhstan & Amina from NL Azerbaijan we raided the bazaar & came away with some fine bargains. We then thought we'd have 2 hours to rest but as was always the way on this trip plans changed & we were whisked back to the very formal conference closure and many many photo opps. So just enough time to dash back & throw on our finery for the bankiet...
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    Jenny Zmroczek


    Alice Mouncer

    Is this the suzane? I like it very much

    Janet Z

    A tragedy... I also became v fond of it only for a cheap bottle of cognac I bought for Derek to break in my suitcase - all the colours have run & stained the white background of the suzane, a beautiful & quite pricey scarf and my lovely new Bravissimo bra. Boo hoo - and prob not covered by my insurance!!

    2 more comments
  • Day1

    First day at conference

    April 21, 2016 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    After my two day Google conference, a short night of sleep in a smoking room at the luxurious Hilton Gatwick where neither the tv nor the radio worked ( was too hysterically tired to complain) and an 18hr journey I eventually packed in a mighty 1h35mins of sleep in Tashkent before heading off to Samarkand. The Afrosiab super fast train was really deluxe & I quickly made a new friend also en route to the conference - Farida from Almaty. Was good to start practising my Russian though just a few mins of peace would not have gone amiss. Imagine my delight when I arrived at the conference in Samarkand to find ihad totake to the VIP podium immediately in front of 500 people. Once I'd sleepily mumbled through my paper things did look up. I've had two huge meals with amazing fresh salads & herbs and piles oh horrendously fatty meat. Been to a super-kitsch musical performance with amusing numbers such as the bringing of Islam to the region - all to a catchy disco beat & many a young maiden's part being danced by women of my age & size. Amusing side features include being transported everywhere in a VIP bus preceded by a police car with sirens blazing. Dinner was accompanied by a wonderful traditional band and many of my fellow lbrarians from the remotest regions all danced enchantingly between courses. And now you have probably guessed... BEDRead more

    Jenny Zmroczek

    Hope you got some sleep xx

    Chrissie Zmroczek

    Glad to know you are enjoying yourself then! Who needs sleep? Rhetorical of course, hope you had a blissfully sound night and are now raring to go again. Looking forward to more posts. Love cxx

    Chrissie Zmroczek

    Marvellous, and they look like a nice crowd xx


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