February 13, 2014

Becoming A TV Personality for five minutes. Beer and Shashlik in Samarkand.

On the final leg of my journey to Uzbekistan  (a journey that took me almost 24 hours from Sydney) I was approached by a large South African man. He wanted my autograph, and have his picture taken with me. I was a famous TV cook and he loved my show. I did like the attention, and thought about pretending to be a personality, but had to admit that sadly I was not famous and did not have my own TV show.

His response “Of course you would say that to avoid attention”. Nothing could change his mind, and he gratefully accepted my autograph of his boarding pass, and then photo opportunities with him and members of his family. The cabin crew were giving me strange sidelong glances. Just who am I a doppelganger for??? 

The arrival into Tashkent was typically Central Asian. God unforsaken arrival hour, chaotic, massive queues, and a requirement of a small bribe to fix my visa “problem”. I made my way to the main railway station, where I had booked a train to Samarkand. Shiny, new and very comfortable, the Afrosiab train sped me there in just over three hours.
I went straight to my favourite restaurant, the Labi-Gor Chaikana, near the Registan. And devoured their tasty lamb shashlik, fresh Samarkand Pulsar beer (on draught, brewed to Germany purity standards and still the best beer in Central Asia) and the somewhat heavy local Non Bread. In the rare photo of me above all other customers and staff had been removed by my producers…

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