Hilary and I caught the metro in the afternoon, partly to see more of the stations on the system, but primarily to visit Chorsu Bazaar, the largest and most remarkable of the bazaars we encountered on the trip. Although the obvious place to first visit is a vast dome-like building where meat and dried fruit dominate most of the stalls, the bazaar is enormous and has stalls in the open air as well as in various covered structures. As we walked around it became apparent that particular goods, whether edible or durable, dominated different sections of the bazaar. When we arrived in the section dominated by bread, we were urged to enter the large room where the dough was prepared before being put into the large ovens to bake.
All or most of the buildings appeared to date from the Soviet era and were quite shabby in appearance, but with so many people buying and selling the atmosphere was seductive. At one point we walked into a large building partly under cover and partly open to the elements where dozens of people prepared food such as grilled meat and fish. Customers could eat at nearby tables. Although it was mid-afternoon, a lot of people were still eating, no doubt because the food was reasonably priced. We had entered a food hall that had been in existence from long before food halls assumed the popularity they currently have.
Not far from the metro station, people ran some stalls to meet the needs of the few tourists who bothered to visit, but Chorsu Bazaar otherwise meets the needs of vast numbers of local people. By the time we left we had seen fresh fruit, dried fruit, bread, meat (horse included), fish, rice, pulses, herbs, spices, cheese, eggs, kitchen utensils, small items of furniture for the home and the garden, plastic buckets, basins, pipes and hoses, quilts, potted plants including cacti and lots of brightly decorated tiles and plates. Because we saw relatively little of the whole place, early the following morning I returned for a second look.
Outside every metro station, uniformed personnel, always male, checked the content of our bags before letting us purchase our tickets (tickets cost 1,200 som for each ride). At the station closest to Chorsu Bazaar, the uniformed personnel saluted as we approached. Female employees were more apparent in the stations themselves, and one or two walked along the platforms to ensure no one did anything unlawful such as taking photos. As for the trains, they were delightfully old fashioned and reminded me of some of the trains we encountered many years ago on the New York subway.
In the evening we were driven to a restaurant where a floor show provided some entertainment. Two young women in traditional Uzbek dress performed a few dances that had contemporary elements tacked onto the routines dating from the past, and a young man sang two pop songs. The young man was accompanied by a guitarist and someone playing a synthesiser. Although the food was reliably good and plentiful, Hilary and I were not disappointed when we left for the hotel.