Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Bit of Pig.

Pat and Shavkat. The cheerful fella is doing the traditional duty of breaking bread.

After a good day's worth of sightseeing, we were more than ready for lunch. It was a late lunch; both Pat and I were starving.

Sergey had asked if were interested in eating fish. I was happily surprised at that thought as all we had had up til today was meat. Don't get me wrong, I love meat but fish would be a nice change. Of course, the fish comes from the Amu Darya. I asked what type of fish. He replied it was carp. Oh....I don't like to eat carp, especially wild caught carp. It's a bottom feeder so the meat tastes of mud. In any event, we decided to go to the fish restaurant. You never know, I might have changed my mind. We told Sergey we were okay with eating pretty much everything but we much preferred a local restaurant rather than one that catered to tourists.



We went back to the city and down some side streets. Sergey was directing Shavkat on where to go. Somewhere, in a very local neighborhood, Shavkat pulled over and we all got out of the car. Initially Shavkat stayed behind but I really wanted him to join us for lunch so Sergey convince to come along.

I would love to tell you where we at but I can're read

There were tables under a portico.  It was a nice day so we opted to eat outside.  This really was a neighborhood joint - we could hear the joyful sounds of kids playing right across the street from us.


With Sergey interpreting, we ordered the food.  Turned out you had to order the fish by weight and it would be served deep fried.  It didn't sound all that appetizing to me.  I was going to order something else.  Then, Sergey said the magical words, *pork shashliyk*.  I don't remember the rest of the sentence.  I looked at Sergey in surprise.  I wanted to make sure I heard correctly and he confirmed.  Yes, they have pork here, thanks to the Russians and Ukrainians who live here.

Both Pat and I jumped at the opportunity to eat pork so we both ordered a skewer each along with the classic cucumber and tomato salad that pretty much every restaurant in this country serves. Here, they just refer to it as *fresh salad*.


According to Sergey, the restaurant is hiring.

While we waited for our food to arrive, I decided to check out how our meat was cooking.  Seeing the skewers of pork hitting the flames made me drool.  Oh....I could not wait to sink my teeth into this shashlyk!

The grillmaster, about to cook our pork shashlyk over the charcoal.

Starting to sizzle away.   It won't be long.  See those end caps of fat.  That's the best stuff!!

The salad arrived first.  It's a warm day today and this salad was a refreshing bite!


Sergey and Shavkat shared a small, whole carp....deep fried.  Their fish arrived to the table just a few minutes before our shashlyk did.

Look at it and drool.  This meat was delicious.  Full of flame grilled porky flavor, juicy and with just the right amount of chewiness.  The grilled fat was sooooo good eaten between pieces of the non.  Hands down, this was the best meal we've had so far.  If you think about, it really was a very simple meal yet it was so satisfying.  I'm glad I skipped out on the fish!  I shared some of my pork with Shavkat who is Muslim but not so obedient that he doesn't eat pork....every now and again.


We lingered over lunch.  At some point, Shavkat excused himself.  Sergey peppered us with more English language related questions. He also told us he was teaching himself Italian and he was facing the frustration that comes with learning a language that has gender associated with the nouns and the fact that there are exceptions and exceptions to the exceptions :-)  Pat and I nodded in complete sympathy; we told him Spanish is the same.

Soon, it was time to leave. Shavkat was ready to drive.  We spent just a day with Sergey and I really like this man.  He is passionate about his home town of Termez, knowledgeable of its history and very affable in nature.  Anyone visiting Termez would be lucky to have him guide them around.  He has set a high bar for all the guides that will come along our way on this trip!

We dropped Sergey off on the way to our hotel.  We thanked him, tipped him and wished him well. 

Back in our room, we called it a day. We were so full from lunch that we even skipped dinner. 

How messy can two women be?

It was a short visit to Termez but I really enjoyed my time here.  Tomorrow, we have to leave bright and early.  We have a long drive to Samarkand!

Goodnight from Termez!