Central Asia: Uzbekistan - Homestay at Asraf Village

By Cubie - January 29, 2016

This tapchan is over a stream
Asraf is located along the Nuratau mountain range, between Eski Forish and Uhum. Based on ancient rock paintings found in the mountains, it was said that human have lived there for more than 2000 years. It was also said that many customs that are practised today at Asraf could be originated from Zarafshan areas rather than the ones from Samarkand and Bukhara Tajiks.

From Yahshigul Guesthouse's homepage, it mentioned that Nuratau region was a trade route that connects between Bukhara and Tashkent. Mountain valleys in Nuratau and Kyzyl Kum plains were used as a stop over points by traders.

Our homestay for the night is at Asraf Village at Yahshigul Guesthouse. If I am to be very brief and describe it in one sentence, I'll say it is a farm homestay experience up in the mountains. There was a lot of eating and lazing around chillaxing in the two days. After resting a little on the tapchan, it was time for lunch! (See - a lot of eating and chillaxing).

Yahshigul Guesthouse is a very self sustainable residence. They have some free range chickens, cows, pony, a good size vegetables patch and some fruit trees. At the time of our visit, the owner, Mr Bobojon Kozokov, his wife (Yahshigul), their two sons, daughters-in-law and two grandsons were living there. They also have a daughter but she is already married and moved to Uhum. The older son, Furqat is married to Feruza and they have two sons, Hushnud and Mehruz. Their younger son, Raxmat is married as well and his wife is sweet and lovely. For the life of me, I cannot recall her name but I suspect it is Zila or something along the line.
A small stream
Noisy donkey
Vege patch
Fruit trees
We played with the two kids for a bit and had a chance to see Feruza made some non. Score! They usually don't make the bread everyday so we were lucky.

After kneading, shaping and letting the dough rest, she brought them out to bake at the tandoor but firstly need to heat up the tandoor till it is hot.

After it is hot enough, Feruza put on a thick jacket and oven mitten as she had to put her hand into the tandoor to stick the nons on the inside of the tandoor.

After all the eating and doing nothing, it was time to do a little hike at the mountains behind the guesthouse. Raxmat was our guide for the hike and we told him prior that we could only cope with easy hike and told him to pick an easy trail. According to Raxmat, the easiest walk available is to see a village but he said the village is already a deserted village. We bite the bullet and go for a hike instead, the easiest hike trail though. Lol, he promised it was easy and not steep though on hindsight I don't think it mean anything since he probably does the trail a few times a day. = ="

Ok, let's try a 360 degrees video view because I can't do panorama shots. Over the hills we can see a valley where Uhum is located and further beyond, vast plains of the Kyzyl Kum steppe.

The person you see squatting down and talked on the mobile is our hiking guide, Raxmat. It just reminds me of telco advertisement. Lol - insert Celcom tagline here.... haha.. The reason it reminds me of Celcom because in the past, the advertisement usually show people receiving a call in an isolated place. Well, at least now I know that marketing ploy is effective to me on a certain extent though I have never used Celcom. haha...

We weren't too slow but we only started out around 3:30 pm because we wanted to see Feruza made the non and of course because of the hot weather. Raxmat went even faster on the way down compared to going up, because it was downhill and secondly we were due to "assist" in making dinner. Haha..

While he was waiting for us, he saw this fruit tree and plucked a couple and passed to us. Umm.. I can't remember the name of the fruit now, it doesn't help that I don't even know what it is in the first place to begin with.
Edit: Sis promptly let me know that this is a date after reading that I could not recognise this fruit...

We cut cross the village on our way back and in spite of our best effort, we were late.

Jump or don't jump?

Feruza had started cooking, it was a plov dinner and we had freshly baked non too. ;) At the same time, (?)Zila was preparing some pickled vegetables with another relative who was visiting. We decided that it was probably best not to assist or nobody will get dinner that night.

Bottles of pickles ready to be cooked
Ok - one more photo, our room for the night.

Check out the mud wall!
Almost forgot - contact details for Yahsigul Guesthouse as below.
Sharipov Raxmat
+99897 325 01 20
+99894 191 79 67

Side note: I am still the only person I know watching Criminal Minds.. and S11E11 is really good! Lol. 

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