Q & A Series With Locals: Alvida From Uzbekistan

I created An Indian Traveler with an intention of sharing my intimate travel stories/adventures and till now the response has been overwhelming. Thanks a lot for reading and keeping me motivated to continue writing. With this post I'm broadening my horizon and entering into an unexplored territory. The idea borne out of a notion that is "The best person to tell you about a place is none other than a local." In this Q & A series I'll be interviewing locals. It will give you some insight into a place with an interesting bunch of questions. Hope you liked it!


I met Alvida in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. She was quite busy but still make it a point to meet me. She came across as a cheerful, confident and compassionate person. When I told her that in Hindi/Urdu language "Alvida" means Goodbye, she responded with "Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna" (Never say Goodbye): A reference to hugely popular Hindi Song. She was born to a Russian father and a Tatar Mother, she lived most of her life in Tashkent. She loves traveling, nature and passionate about learning new things. When I shared the idea of Q&A with locals with her, She was quick to add "I may not be the right person" given her Russian roots. Finally, she agreed and I'm really glad and happy that she will be the first Interviewee in my Q & A Series with Locals.


Please tell us about yourself. 
Hello there! I am Alvida from Uzbekistan, to be specific Tashkent city. I am working as a main specialist on Foreign Economic Activities/FEA due to my active lifestyle and eagerness to be a part of someone’s culture. In case of India, I have learned some Indian classical dance "Kathak" for 3 years.

How many countries have you visited so far?
India, Russia + The Crimea, Germany, Italy, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Spain, Netherlands – 8 countries in total.

How would you describe your people?
Hospitable. Furthermore, someone told me that wherever Uzbek families live, their garden blossoms all the year. Uzbeks are really hard-working people and they do love gardening.

How would you describe your country?
Diverse as everyone can find what they are looking for.

How well does your country speak English on a scale to 1-10?
It depends on the region. In touristic cities that could be 7-8. In other places, it might be even less than 5. (Uzbek and Russian are mainly spoken in the country)

Which is the key phrase/word/expression that people in your country usually say?
Hop bu’ladi (some kind of agreement, whatever need to be done. The answer is always o’k)

Which is the best/essential local food to try in Uzbekistan?
Plov/Pilaw (Commonly, Uzbek Plov/Pilaw is cooked with rice, meat, carrots, onions and vegetable oil)

Which is the best/essential local drink to try in Uzbekistan?
Fruit sherbet (Cherry Juice), Ayran (Yogurt based drink: In India, its commonly known as Chaach)

Which is the best/essential festival to attend in Uzbekistan?
Navruz (Persian New Year)

Which sport are you guys crazy about?
Football, Kurash (Folk Wrestling)

Which are the best cities/places to visit in Uzbekistan?
Bukhara & Khiva (Ancient Cities filled with historical sites and stunning architecture, Listed in World Heritage Sites)

What are the landmarks and hidden gems of Uzbekistan?
The Ark in Bukhara, Ulugbek observatory in Samarkand, Khoste-Imam complex in Tashkent incl. the old manuscript of Koran, Ichan-Kala in Khiva to name a few.

Please share an Interesting trivia about Uzbekistan?
It is situated in the heart of Central Asia; famous for its really tasty fruits and vegetables (e.g. mirzachul melons, yusupov tomato). According to The World Happiness Report results, Uzbekistan is on the 44th place and the happiest country among all the CIS countries.

What are the most popular stereotypes/cliches about Uzbekistan?
That all people wear only traditional clothing and all women cover their faces with burqa; the popular transportation is an araba pulled by a donkey; all people sit on a floor and eat only with their hands.

Which is the best time to visit Uzbekistan?

Are there any local customs a visitor should be sensitive to?
Not sensitive but Visitors should be open to drinking green tea and eating Uzbek Non (Uzbek Bread) on an invitation which could lead to interesting conversations :)

Picture Courtesy: Alvida Z.

When I asked her to share an interesting picture of her. She chose the above one.
In the photo, she is holding a placard spreading the message of a guy who wanted to express his feelings to his girlfriend from every part of the world. So, she took care of Uzbekistan!


  1. I would love to visit Uzbekistan one day, it sounds like a fascinating country, especially with 2 Unesco sites. I think I have tried the pilaw before, I surely did the Ayran which is so yummy.

  2. Brittany Srawbridge23 November 2018 at 18:42

    I am so happy to know something about other people like her. She is such a great woman and very passionate towards her work. I wish to visit this place someday and explore every beautiful spots that they have.

  3. Very interesting Q&A giving me an insight into life in a completely different country to mine. Lovely pics too - love all the gold!

  4. I was always curious of Uzbekistan. It was once USSR and it is always interesting how country survives that heritage. Also their culture is so interesting with all of those beautiful detailed buildings. Great interview series overall

  5. I LOVE this idea of Q&A with a local. To be honest I don't think I have ever seen that in any other blogger. Can't wait to follow along. Also, do you happen to know when Navruz festival is? Planning out our 2020 travels :)

  6. That's one very interesting person! Such a nice read!

  7. You are right, learning about the place from a local is far better than a book. This series of Q&A which you have set up is so informative

  8. I love your photos! :) I think it was a clever idea to interview a local. They have some unique and interesting customs. I have never heard of Folk Wrestling before this post. Thanks for broadening my horizons! :)

  9. I love hearing the inside scoop on cities from the locals. Thanks so much for sharing this great interview!

  10. This is such a great idea! Interviewing a local is such a wonderful way to highlight a place and offer insight that a casual traveler can’t.

  11. Great interview you have there. I learn a little about Uzbez when I was travelling in Xinjiang China. There are tiny minority from Uzbez background live in Xinjiang China. Central Asia is in my bucket list in the next few years. Pilaw is similar to the Urghur hand picked rice/zhufan. Your interview has give me a lot of insight information.

  12. ahhh I've learnt something new here. I don't know much about Uzbekistan so this was a great introduction into the culture. great read, genuinely enjoyed reading it

  13. Great interview with wonderful photographs. Enjoyed thoroughly your Uzbekistan story.

  14. Such a great idea to have a Q&A with the locals - they always know where to find the hidden gems

  15. Kristine Nicole Alessandra25 November 2018 at 13:07

    This is a really nice post filled with information about Uzbekistan. It is great to learn about the culture from a local, especially recommending which food and drink to sample while visiting their country. Hopefully I can visit one day.

  16. So many new things that I learned here I would have never known! I love learning about new people and their culture. Thank you for sharing.

  17. Uzbekistan is one the most peaceful countries, having tons of tourism spots, yet still, it is quite undiscovered by tourists.


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