The Tajik handshake

Every country has its own particularities and especially in Central Asia, a patchwork of old Soviet states, that’s very obvious. We didn’t like the people of Kazakhstan for example, but a mere 50 kilometres further down the road the Kyrgyz-people were totally different: kind and hospitable.

Now we’re in Tajikistan and this country loves to shake hands. The men I mean. Every time we’re pulled over by the police, the first thing I need to do is shake firmly the hand of the police officer. I kind of like the practice, since it immediately creates a kind of bond.  A corrupt one in many cases I suspect, but nevertheless a bond.

Yesterday, we had a small collision with our taxi and the first thing our driver did was get out of the car and shake the hand of the driver of the other car who clearly was the one who was to blame. What follows were smiles and a lot of chit chat…

Now, there are different kind of handshakes of course, but in Tajikistan the most courteous one is to combine the shake with placing the other hand on the heart, sometimes accompanied by a light bow of the head. It’s actually a very kind gesture and we’ve even been greeted this way by children and men next to the road when we were driving by.

Women are not offered a hand shake by the men here, but I noticed that between women the greeting consists of giving each other three kisses.

The Tajik and the Dutch are not that different after all it seems…

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