According to our plans today is a big and difficult one. We have about 650 Km to go in a hot humid desert. Matteo doesn’t feel good today. He thinks that the soup he had the night before made him feel that way. The roads are not getting any better, in fact they are getting worse. We have to pay close attention to the roads as it is not unusual to find holes big enough to crash if we were to drive into them. Approaching the Karagum desert the heat becomes a challenge for both of us. We have to push ourselves to arrive in Turkmenabat, last city before the Turkmenistan – Uzbekistan border at 8.00 PM. The experience of Turkmenistan has been overall great but we realize that the infrastructures for tourism are not yet ready. The following morning we drive toward the town of Farab to cross the border toward Uzbekistan.
May 25th 2011
Tukmenistan must have the worse roads I have ever seen in my life full of holes. The scenery on the other hand was pretty amazing with desert on one side and a Mountain range with Iran on the other. We arrived in Ashgabat at around 5.00 PM and tried to locate a place to stay with an Internet connection. We realized that in Turkmenistan Internet is really limited and were not able to find one. The city of Ashgabat is a modern city build almost entirely with marble buildings and fountains. We found the city pretty vibrant due to the fact that it was the end of the school year. Lots of young people on the streets celebrating. We decide to go for dinner at the local bazaar where we each had some delicious soup and some grilled chicken. By visiting the local bazaar we notice that we are finally in Asia. The people’s facial expressions and features are gradually changing.
May 24th 2011
Once arrived in Turkmenabashi at about 10.00 AM, we were finally allowed to put our bikes on land to start the very long and exhausting customs procedures. After a long wait of about 3 hours we were told that they were ready for us and the comedy started. We had to go through so many controls and had to pay so many times fees that we were not aware of. Patience was severely put under stress but Matteo and myself knew that we could not fall for it and stayed calm.
At around 4 PM we finally cleared customs with much less money and a bunch of useless paper work. We headed toward the first city named Belkanabat where we rested for the night.
As we are having difficulties finding good internet connections we will update more in every country at random times, so make sure you go back to browse past post that might have been updated with videos and pictures.
Turkmenistan is the most mysterious and unexplored territory of all the “ Stan “ states. It became famous for the strange dictatorship of Naparmyrat Niyazov. He builds numerous golden statues of himself and huge monuments all over the country. Visiting ancient cities like Merv, Misrian, and Konye-Urgench it’s easy to imagine the old population crossing the Silk Road with their camels. It is not easy to travel on your own in Turkmenistan. Someone is always watching you. Internet is very difficult to find and some sites like “you tube” are even forbidden. It is still a very secretive country. We have been told not to take pictures prior permission if we want to avoid being taken into custody for questioning