Uzbekistan

Bukhara (Uzbekistan), 31.05.2013

Somehow we ended up in the wrong movie today, can someone please change it back to the positive, energetic, funny one?

Our day started early, we had to pack the car, buy diesel and food, and be at the border before 09:00. At the gas station the guy didn’t want to fill our extra tanks, and my nerves were so tense I smashed a tank on the car. Fortunately Helena had more patience and we got our diesel. We read that in Uzbekistan fuel is scarce and want to take no risks since we only got three days in the country with a transit visa, and have to drive approx. 1.300 km, more then the autonomy of the Range Rover incl. tanks. Continue reading “Uzbekistan”

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From Ancient to Brand New Capital

Ashgabat (Turkmenistan), 26.05.2013

This again is a two in one post, since there is not much going on currently.
The first day started early and we drove 1h from Mary to the site of ancient Merv to see it before the sun gets too hot. This place consists of excavations in hills on a flat plain that cover up several cities of different ages. Since the buildings were made of mud bricks there is very little left after Mongol raids, earthquakes and bad weather for centuries. But it is still impressive to see how people lived here around 2000 years ago. It also connects to places we’ve seen before, like Persepolis, and many that will follow. Our guide explained us the background and details of the place very well. Continue reading “From Ancient to Brand New Capital”

Waiting

Dasoguz (Turkmenistan), 31.05.2013

Two days we spent now waiting in this city where there is nothing to see, nothing to do, and nowhere to go. The first day, after sleeping for over 12 h, we got a bag of laundry washed, cleaned the car, read maps, guides and apps for info on the next countries, slept more, bought water and drinks. We also tried to find some Internet, but the state run Internet cafe with strange terminals didn’t inspire enough confidence for us to log into our mail and other accounts, using passwords that could be hacked etc. Continue reading “Waiting”

A Desert of Fire and Monuments

Dasoguz (Turkmenistan), 27.05.2013

To escape the craziness of this absurd and unfree country, from Ashgabat we drove north towards the Uzbek border. The road was better until Derwaza, the destination of yesterday’s afternoon, but I did a mistake reading the map and calculated the trip 100km too short. Also, the paranoia in this country and the third person with us all the time creates a lot of tension. In the desert the daylight lasted until 21:00, shortly before we arrived, and we drove silently for hours through dunes, flat steppe, met occasional camel herds and few cars and trucks on the road. The light from 19:00 to 21:00 was truly spectacular as the sun slowly disappeared and the night took over. A very special sight that only deserts and steppes can offer. Continue reading “A Desert of Fire and Monuments”

Stuck Between Borders

Dasoguz (Turkmenistan), 28.05.2013

As you can see, we write this post from the same place as the day before. The border crossing didn’t work. We left the hotel early and arrived at the border at exactly 09:00. We were the first car to be let through, the Turkmen officers were friendly, and we knew we would have to get all our stuff out of the car. We unpacked, got 36 items through the X-ray scanner and then the car was thoroughly checked by the friendly young customs agents. Continue reading “Stuck Between Borders”

Next Unfree Country – “Unwelcome” to Turkmenistan

Mary (Turkmenistan), 24.05.2013

We are debating if lack of religious or political freedom is worse and somehow cannot agree. We had a week of Iran, with restrictions particularly for Helena as a woman, but also in general sensed an oppressing atmosphere. Part of that is surely our take of a situation that the locals manage much more easily then we do. At least apparently. Now we are in Turkmenistan, and we did read a bit about the country before we got here, that there is a particular regime with a lot of controls and preoccupations. But none of us has ever lived in such an environment, and it feels bad, from the first moment that we entered the country. Continue reading “Next Unfree Country – “Unwelcome” to Turkmenistan”