From: Elaine Graham
My visit to Uzbekistan has been an extraordinary experience, beginning the moment our plane landed and we were greeted as honoured guests and chauffeured to our hotel by Festival organisers. From Bokhara, Samarkand and Tashkent to Kokand I am overwhelmed by the generosity and hospitality of the Uzbek people and I now understand why Eva returns again and again to your country. I too have fallen in love with Uzbekistan and hope to return soon, especially as I am assured by many of my hosts that they are already "waiting for me".
Then there is the land itself; it's fascinating history, colour, cuisine and art, architecture and artisan traditions going back through the generations... it is impossible to do it all justice in a single visit. Lastly, I remain in awe of the the fact that the organisers of the First International Handicrafts Festival were able to draw together participants from over 70 countries, create an infrastructure and provide an entertaining and informative programme of events in so short a time; a feat no less impressive than the Olympics. One of my special memories is that of a young man sitting behind me during the Opening Gala. At the end of the presidential address he leapt up and shouted "My country is so beautiful!" I was very moved by this young man's passion, energy and vision for the future.
My sincere thanks for making me and my companions so welcome in your wonderful country.