View from the top of Old Man of Coniston hike in Lake District National Park, England.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Preston, Lancashire, England.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Wyke, West Yorkshire, England on May 29th!

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Another cultural experience to remember

Regular readers will remember the other day when we crossed the border from Uzbekistan to Tajikistan and we met Ali, another customer in the shared taxi to Panjakent. 

He really looked after us, and said that his sister lives in Dushanbe and would like to meet us. I gave him my WhatsApp contact info, so we could keep in touch.

We soon started receiving invitations through WhatsApp from his sister Guliston. But the conversation was all done through Google Translate, which sometimes doesn't get it right. So while we wanted to visit her, we weren't sure exactly how to get to her house.

We figured out that if we got to Sakhovat Market in the south end of the city, we would be close. She then suggested I give my phone to the taxi driver, and she would instruct him on how to get to their house.

So we left our apartment just after 2:00pm, planning on arriving at 3:00pm. We picked up a box of chocolates for the family. Tajik people love their sweets!

And then we flagged down one of the many available taxis. Taxis are cheap in Dushanbe, and even though we were headed to the south end of the city, a good half hour drive, the fare would still very inexpensive. We got to Sakhovat Market and I called Guliston, and handed the phone to the driver. Next thing you know, we're in a very residential area, but there are no street signs, or numbers on the houses. About four phone calls later, we finally arrived. 

The metered fare came to 58 TJS ($5.30 USD, $7.30 CAD). I tried to give the driver a tip for the extra hassle, but he wouldn't accept it.

We had done some reading about Tajik customs, so we knew that while it was fine for women to extend their hand for a handshake with other women, men do not typically shake hands on introduction to strange women, unless the woman holds her hand out first. Otherwise, you just hold your hand over your heart, and nod your head. Guliston gave Ruth the customary kisses on cheeks welcome, and I got a nod. Exactly the way we expected it to happen.

We were ushered into the home where a short table was laid with all kinds of goodies.

We sit cross legged on the floor at the low table.

Guliston's 17 year old daughter Robiya was most enthusiastic to talk with us, and was quick to get the Translate going on her phone. We had quite the conversation while Guliston got tea ready for us. Robiya is engaged to be married. She says her husband to be has loved her since the 5th grade! It is fairly typical in this area to be married at 18. 

Robiya's sister (age 23) arrived with her three children, and an aunt and cousin arrived as well. No men around... they were all working.

The food kept coming, but it was a bit odd because only Robiya ate with us. We asked about that, but only received a response that  the others would sit with us later. Then afterwards, we all sat around and talked... using translate.


There was too much food! We were full, and it looked like we had hardly touched the amount of food and treats on the table!

Us, with the family.

And with me taking the photo and Robiya in the picture.

Lots of fun, and we learned a lot. Guliston said that the Tajiks are very hospitable people, and love to entertain visitors. We're honestly surprised that more western tourists haven't discovered Tajikistan, although the mountains are fairly popular with the backpacker crowd.

She walked us back through the maze to the main street where she arranged a taxi for us. 

What a great experience. 

This morning, we fly from Dushanbe to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. It's about a one hour flight, and we should arrive before noon. Writing this at Dushanbe airport.


And in Canada...


  1. Love reading your posts! just curious about what do most people living there do for work?

    1. We are glad that you are enjoying our posts and pictures.

      As for work, most people do what people in cities back home do, such as workings in shops al the various service industries, Also because Dushanbe is the capital city they have lots of government workers, big businesses, banks and of course lots of construction. They also have a coal powered generating plant in the city and the country's biggest economy is from it's agriculture.


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