Traveler Spotlight: Dispatches from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan
MIR traveler Fred Lundahl spent 30 years serving in U.S. embassies abroad with the Foreign Service. During his postings, he fell in love with Central Asia, and still travels there every couple of years. He has served for years on the Board of Directors of the Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association, and involves himself in their annual celebrations, often providing the authentic decorations from his shop.
After their retirement, Fred and his wife, Sharon, started an import store that they named Music for the Eyes. The shop, in the village of Langley on Washington State’s Whidbey Island, is filled with exotic treasures personally collected from foreign lands, especially the Silk Road countries of Central Asia.
Recently, Fred traveled with MIR on another collecting trip through Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, including some hiking “in the most picturesque mountains that no one in the U.S. has heard of – the Fann Mountains north of Dushanbe [Tajikistan].”
Fred was in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital, during Ramadan.
“Dushanbe is one of the most laid back Muslim cities I have seen. Unlike some neighboring countries that try to encourage outward signs of religion such as beards and headscarves, Tajikistan doesn’t bother you about such things.
You see old and young wearing beards or no beards, and headscarves or no headscarves. Also everyone is free to choose to fast during Ramadan or not. While kebab stands in the local markets are not as busy as usual during the day, there are always a few customers eating away while observant Muslims simply go about their business or sit and chat with their non-observant friends who are chomping down lunch.”
Top photo: Fred at a festive iftar dinner in Tajikistan; Photo credit: Fred Lundahl
PUBLISHED: July 12, 2016