It is just me again, and I'm glad to see some of you understand what I was trying to do and who I was witting my travel log (basically explaining the experience I had in your country to my peers, in terms they could relate to). From some of the responses I gather I painted a pretty accurate picture of some of the problems, uzbek society must contend with (in terms that ruffled some feathers).
Growing up in california where the culture is exported through the movies and superficially emulated around many parts of the world, it is very easy to be lulled into a sense every thing should work, act and function as it does back home. That is why I and many other americans, dress and act the way we do in many parts of the world. SUN6500 made the comment that I had a negative impression to being asked to pack away my old torn jeans (actually my response at the time was, wow this is something my mom would say.... and I thought it was rather humorous actually).
For better or for worst, american tourists blissfully can ignore most local cultural norms in many areas, because of the almighty dollar. For example if I was in china or india in a major city where there are lots of tourists, I could get away with wearing my pajamas with unbrushed hair in public as janet might say (btw I just described how some engineers dress in high tech work places), because forcing tourists to conform may make tourists find another place that does not impose such restrictions. The rules change (and if I did my homework, I would have been better prepared) when tourists head way off the beaten path, (i.e. go to kishlocks s.p? or tiny villages).
b.t.w. SUN6500 you forgot to mention (the tube in london, the subway in hong kong, the ělî in chicago, the subway in budapest, etc.). All I have to say is ěbeen there, done thatî and I think those places are zoos too. When I wrote ěmove like a herd of wild animalsî I was trying to describe what people were acting like in the shortest possible terms.
In new york and japan I have see people rush around but they are more like passive lemmings in a line (mindless going from home to work, etc.), in uzbekistan for lack of a better term they have a more herd like mentality (f.y.i. they also use the description herd like to describe many investors in the stock market), that is a legacy of the good old days when the soviet union made all its citizens line up for good and services and being at the head of the line insured that you would get an item before they ran out. I saw instances of this phenomena at bus and train stations, airlines counters, market places, etc. For example at the ěIpodromî sp? that really huge bazaar just outside of toshkent, I saw people aggressively waiting for some goods to be brought out and when the goods were brought out, people would literally shove others out of the way to get to the head of the line (it was kind of like a mosh pit without the music).
When you said, "One thing you failed to mention is bribery. It is widespread and corroding the society from within...!" I have to agree it is a problem world wide but since I was pretty much reveling in novelty of the uzbek experience, I ignored that aspect for the most part (such watching how to get cotton oil through unofficial channels, getting benzine (aka gas) from farm houses, etc.
I recall some stories I heard while traveling in country, that it was difficult to get certain jobs and schools without really yanking a few string and paying a few bribes to people in the right places to get the right stamps, etc. (even if a person was more than qualified to do a job or go to a certain school). If the objective is to attract foreign investment, I think it would be very close to impossible in an environment where bribery is widespread. If I were a business person, I would not invest in such a country, because it would be difficult to access risk.
On last thing, it was mentioned that polygamy is prohibited in Uzbekistan according to the Article 46 of the Constituion. In the state of Utah, polygamy was also outlawed by the state and mormon church, but in news reports it says it still exists in certain communities and is over looked my authorities. My question is how common is it for a man to have wife and a mistress? I know that part of the world is pretty much male oriented and women in traditional settings are expected to play a submissive role, and I was told (it may have been just gossip by pcv) three or four different stories where a married uzbek man had a mistress on the side (that btw is why I wrote "Polygamy of sorts is also accepted....")
So there you have it, my own experience of a visit to your country and some of the reasons I wrote what I did. Question is where do you all go from here? You cannot change the past, but you can effect changes in the future...