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Today we got up very early and departed for the Mumbai Airport were we took a domestic flight to Delhi. Our group has now gone from 16 to 9. A bit of a dance was had with security and we almost missed our flight. We could not get through security because our phone would not pull up our boarding passes, Rita got selected for a special security check and was held up for almost an hour, and we almost lost Carol because of bathroom break that caused the last bus to the plane to be held. It was stressful enough but in the end we all made it to the plane and were off on time to Tashkent. We landed a bit early, immigration was a breeze, and after exchanging money - $100 USD equals 825,000 Soms, we were transferred to our hotel near the city center. The balance of the day was free time to rest. That first evening we sought out a local restaurant and had BEEF and LAMB for the first time in well over six weeks.
This was a return visit for me and the first for our friends and we were all amazed at how modern and well appointed the city was. Six years ago when I was here it looked a bit different. A huge modernization program was put into effect five years ago and the city was beautiful Wide streets, automobiles instead of motor bikes, people in western attire, beautiful stores and restaurants. This is a modern Muslim country where women have near equal rights, couple walk hand-in-hand, and everyone of course is so welcoming and friendly.
We were met by our local guide, Fizel, a charming fellow, who overly accommodated us and took us on what would be a ten hour walking tours of the city's most important heritage sites. First stop was the Muslim religious ensemble. The tile work on these masterpieces, some dating back several hundred years is breathtaking. It was a pleasant 72^, we wore sweaters and jackets and walked around the several buildings with excellent commentary from our guide.
The garden of a private home turned into an applied arts museum.