Even before the train from Tashkent could start, a young gentleman approached me and asked if i would like better seats and didn’t mind some conversation. Well, who’d say no. So I got upgraded to the 1st class and was off to the adjacent coach under the ‘oh what just happened’ stares of all those around. The girl sitting next to me mouthed with jealousy, ‘me too’.
Ali was a Tashkent resident whose English sounded like that of Ken Watanabe from the last samurai. My hunger and his incessant talking lasted till Samarkand. The country welcomed with a free upgrade!