A person of interest in Tajikistan

I spent this afternoon being interviewed by a magazine called “Women of Tajikistan” after being ambushed by a couple of journalists outside the Uzbek embassy. For some reason (possibly my expression of beatific joy – exiting a Central Asian embassy, visa in hand, often provokes this) I stood out as a Person Of Interest and so I spent two hours in the office of this publication (which must have a remarkably broad editorial scope if it is interested in the thoughts of random tourists) being quizzed over the weekly circulation of newspapers in the UK, the London public’s reaction to the burqa ban in France and what my message was to the Women of Tajikistan. The interview took place partially in Russian so heaven knows how it turned out; when a translator finally turned up (“Why are there no women like Margaret Thatcher in the British parliament at the moment?” was giving me difficulties, not just because of the language) we got sidetracked into an extensive argument over whether global warming exists so I’m not sure how much that helped. At the end of the interview, the journalist apologised profusely that editorial policy didn’t allow them to put foreigners on the front cover, otherwise I would, he assured me, be there like a shot (I have never, ever been so grateful for editorial policy). I still have zero idea as to what I did to excite so much interest, as foreign tourists aren’t exactly uncommon here – OK, so Paris Dushanbe ain’t, but it’s not Mogadishu either), but I am extremely pleased that Central Asia continues right to the end to be a Bit Odd.


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