Chilla, an annual summer heatwave, sets in for another reign in Tashkent, with the life of the city bending to its all-consuming will. The ultimate remedy is just one hour away in the mountains, between ranges that resemble layers of semi-opaque fabric against the backdrop of the cloudless sky—Lake Charvak, locals and tourists’ favorite resort destination, a reservoir on the river Chichiq in the western Tian Shan mountains that attracts hundreds of thousands annually to tapchan sunbeds on its shores.
This is where a sisterly coterie of young girls go to cool down in seclusion, running away from urban life’s social norms and biases. They are driven by adolescent carelessness, candor, and freedom to be themselves. As one does, they take one of the easily recognizable and ever-present Uzbekistan manufactured Daewoo cars, belonging to someone’s father. Roadside along their way, they buy qatiq yoghurt to serve in lieu of sunscreen and homegrown melons that they will keep cool under rocks at their destination. They stay the night outside of the city by themselves.