October 21.21 (Part 2): You Had Me At Salom

Renowned photographer, painter and curator Shavkat Boltayev greets us at the Bukara train station with a smile and a hug. Shavkat is the founder of the legendary Bukhara school of photography, a native Bukharan, and one of the main experts of both the past and the present of this ancient city”. He’s also going to be our host for The Sound We See: A Bukhara City Symphony! Our bags go into one taxi. The three of us go in another one. No one seems the least bit worried about this and indeed we all arrive safe and sound at the end of Shavkat’s narrow little street in the old part of the city. Walking the short distance to his home that also serves as guest house for tourists and cultural visitors, Shavkat is already telling us all about the neighbourhood, the buildings and the people who have lived here for generations. Inside, the traditional dwelling is a wonderland of art and energy: we meet Shavkat’s wife Umida, his son Hafiz, his son Behzod and Beza’s wife Rukhsora and their brand new baby Behtarin. Gathering in the exuberant dining room for a delicious dinner featuring stew with meat, quince and potatoes, we also meet language-teacher Alex, Ukrainian by birth but living in Germany, who has recently achieved his goal of visiting 100 countries by his 30th birthday. Thank you for the warm welcome… We’re definitely feeling the famed Uzbek hospitality!

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