I met Alvida in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. She was quite busy but still make it a point to meet me. She came across as a cheerful, confident and compassionate person. When I told her that in Hindi/Urdu language “Alvida” means Goodbye, she responded with “Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna” (Never say Goodbye): A reference to hugely popular Hindi Song. She was born to a Russian father and a Tatar Mother, she lived most of her life in Tashkent. She loves traveling, nature and passionate about learning new things. When I shared the idea of Q&A with locals with her, She was quick to add “I may not be the right person” given her Russian roots. Finally, she agreed and I’m really glad and happy that she will be the first Interviewee in my Q & A Series with Locals.
Q & A WITH ALVIDA FROM UZBEKISTAN
Please tell us about yourself.
Hello there! I am Alvida from Uzbekistan, to be specific Tashkent city. I am working as a main specialist on Foreign Economic Activities/FEA due to my active lifestyle and eagerness to be a part of someone’s culture. In case of India, I have learned some Indian classical dance “Kathak” for 3 years.
How many countries have you visited so far?
India, Russia + The Crimea, Germany, Italy, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Spain, Netherlands – 8 countries in total.
How would you describe your people?
Hospitable. Furthermore, someone told me that wherever Uzbek families live, their garden blossoms all the year. Uzbeks are really hard-working people and they do love gardening.
How would you describe your country?
Diverse as everyone can find what they are looking for.
How well does your country speak English on a scale to 1-10?
It depends on the region. In touristic cities that could be 7-8. In other places, it might be even less than 5. (Uzbek and Russian are mainly spoken in the country)
Which is the key phrase/word/expression that people in your country usually say?
Hop bu’ladi (some kind of agreement, whatever need to be done. The answer is always o’k)
Which is the best/essential local food to try in Uzbekistan?
Plov/Pilaw (Commonly, Uzbek Plov/Pilaw is cooked with rice, meat, carrots, onions and vegetable oil)
Which is the best/essential local drink to try in Uzbekistan?
Fruit sherbet (Cherry Juice), Ayran (Yogurt based drink: In India, its commonly known as Chaach)
Which is the best/essential festival to attend in Uzbekistan?
Navruz (Persian New Year)
Which sport are you guys crazy about?
Football, Kurash (Folk Wrestling)
Which are the best cities/places to visit in Uzbekistan?
Bukhara & Khiva (Ancient Cities filled with historical sites and stunning architecture, Listed in World Heritage Sites)
What are the landmarks and hidden gems of Uzbekistan?
The Ark in Bukhara, Ulugbek observatory in Samarkand, Khoste-Imam complex in Tashkent incl. the old manuscript of Koran, Ichan-Kala in Khiva to name a few.
It is situated in the heart of Central Asia; famous for its really tasty fruits and vegetables (e.g. mirzachul melons, yusupov tomato). According to The World Happiness Report results, Uzbekistan is on the 44th place and the happiest country among all the CIS countries.
What are the most popular stereotypes/cliches about Uzbekistan?
That all people wear only traditional clothing and all women cover their faces with burqa; the popular transportation is an araba pulled by a donkey; all people sit on a floor and eat only with their hands.
Which is the best time to visit Uzbekistan?
Are there any local customs a visitor should be sensitive to?
Not sensitive but Visitors should be open to drinking green tea and eating Uzbek Non (Uzbek Bread) on an invitation which could lead to interesting conversations 🙂
When I asked her to share an interesting picture of her. She chose the above one.
In the photo, she is holding a placard spreading the message of a guy who wanted to express his feelings to his girlfriend from every part of the world. So, she took care of Uzbekistan!