I'll write whatever I want, dammit
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Ташкент

Life is good here in Uzbekistan. It’s warm and sunny every day, cool and breezy every night, and the Russian channel shows KHL games pretty much all the time, and futbol the rest of the time. The government is making an impressive effort to make the country a tourist destination - which it should, because this is one of the coolest places on earth to visit. I must have been Uzbek in a previous life, because I feel very much at home here.

Here’s a few boring snapshots from my walk this morning
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Wednesday was a holiday, Tashkent’s 2200th anniversary
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Yes, that’s an open sewer. Got a problem with that?

I stopped at the bazaar for some groceries and such
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Quite the experience
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That’s two VIP tickets to last night’s Uzbekistan - Iran friendly match. I tried to find someone to go with me, but there were no takers, so one of them went unused. I can think of at least two people who would have enjoyed going.

A brief subway ride and a short walk and I was at Pakhtakor stadium
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Although there were probably about 20,000 people there, they all sat on the same side as I did, except for the loud ones
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A tiny, but very loud Iran contingent was there in the fenced-off area
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I wanted to go talk to them, but the Militsya said no. I pleaded my case, but they were firm and I gave up. Ain’t lookin’ for no trouble. Note the militsya strategically posted around the section.

The home side wore white for some reason (check out the cushy VIP seats, everyone else sat on benches)
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Even though this was a friendly match, both sides played their A team, since this was a warmup for qualifiers. It was a bloody, nasty game, with 2 red cards and lots of yellows. LOTS of missed shots. An Uzbek goal in the 90th minute was called off because the striker kicked the goaltender in his man-parts (ouch! He was down for 20 minutes or so). I think it still should have counted... These guys really don’t seem to like each other.

That’s the third straight 0-0 draw that I have been to, going back to Fukuoka. I haven’t seen a goal in something like 300 minutes. But it was an exciting, hard-hitting, and thoroughly entertaining match.

The stadium doesn’t seem to have any restrooms. At halftime, everyone jumped over a wall and did their thing. Nothing like hundreds of people (men, women, and children) wizzing together in a field, I always say.




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