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Bazaar

The crowds in the Osh market jostle and push, always moving on to the next thing, as perhaps they have always done in this 3, 000-year-old city at the eastern end of the Fergana Valley, near the Kyrgyz border with Uzbekistan. A restless flow of handcarts, women with bags, and men with burdens of heavy sacks on their shoulders pound the ancient fragments of stone and dust that pass for pavements here. The aromas from the smoky shashlik grills mingle with the odor of sweat and the steamy tea houses, serving greasy bowls of laghman heaped with fresh dill, or piles of manty covered in sliced onions. In addition to these are a startling array of other odors, activated in the heat, and too numerous to remember, much less describe. The sunlight and dancing colors, and the local popular music playing everywhere from portable casette players, as Tajiks, Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Russians, and no doubt others, each in their own variant of local clothing and headwear, all commingle here.