A fly on the wall.


We are tourists and no matter how hard we try to integrate into a new culture or country we are still sitting in the audience – we are never on the stage.

We were in Uzbekistan for sixteen days and had been invited to at least five weddings.

Our guide in Samarkand told us that it was common for foreigners to be invited to join the celebrations.

It’s easy to understand why, as you are treated like a celebrity, wherever you go. This isn’t because you are, it’s just that the Uzbeks want to make you feel welcome.

Weddings play an enormous part in social life and are grand affairs. A small one might have 300 guests but it’s not uncommon to have more than a thousand. This is a huge expense, for all concerned, yet there is no hesitation in inviting a few more, especially if they’re Westerners.

Groups of school and university age kids want to be photographed with you and also want to take your snap.

The same groups are just as happy to spend time practicing their English.

Even when you approach older citizens they rarely refuse the opportunity to have their photo taken.

We can only sit on the sidelines and enjoy the view, but what a great and entertaining view it is.

On our last night in Samarkand we went to one of their best restaurants. This wasn’t full of tour groups but packed with locals, determined to have a great night out.

One of the by-products of the Russian, Soviet eras was the introduction of alcohol into a predominately Muslim society. On the whole they choose moderation over excessiveness, unlike their former colonial masters. The result is good humoured fun.

The venue was a huge palace with a large ground floor area full of party goers. The band was loud and the atmosphere vibrant.

There were no seats on the main floor so we went up to the first floor, where there were small rooms on a surrounding balcony.

The waiter thought that we wanted peace and quiet and insisted on shutting the door.

We opened the doors and had a wonderful Dress Circle view of the spectacle below.

At the end of the night we returned to our hotel and the locals went home.

The show was over for us but for the people of Samarkand, it was just another Friday night.

One Response to “A fly on the wall.”

  1. Alex Mifsud says:

    Five weddings! Did you accept the invitations? This is shaping up to be your best trip ever. And photos at last. Cheers, Alex.

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