Published: December 26th 2009
October 6th 2009
Another Brandy, really?
A little dram on the Dagistan
Tourist Land Speed Record for those of you who do not read the Herald.
After leaving Azerbaijan behind on a ferry after a sprint to the Turkmenistan Embassy, I head to the ferry only to wait 5hrs for it to leave(engine trouble)
I break the first rule of backpacker club and take someone else's bag across the border, but it's a coat what's the harm.
The boat is delayed outside Turkmenbashi Port for ... 4days! meaning i have 2 days to cross Turkmenistan or pay $200 to pass go. At the port I am met by my package collection team, a good deal in the end - endless food and hospitality. The father is a civil engineer and he shows me his work before putting me in a taxi to Ashgabat and paying for it.
Me and the deck hands after a hard day scraping and painting the deck
Shoot through Ashgabat sights in a day - a truly unique city, lots of gold and marble in the centre with endless hotels, because the ex-president really likes them, which is funny because he hardly let anyone carry out any sort of tourism!
Turkmenbashi commands the sun follows his face.
that rotates to follow the sun in Ashgabat
Colourful Market in Dashogus - Northern Turkmenistan
Make it to Uzbekistan where the cities are lovely and old. All of them absolutely stunning. (this is not me being sarcastic) The country does also seem to be crawling with german and french tour groups. I didn't realise they led the way on tourism - come on Brits get your act together.
Someone pulled the plug on the Aral sea here, now the nearest city(Uzbek side) is 150km from the water's edge. oddly people are trying to preserve it but even in 2007 it was still getting smaller. I think it is simply a matter of putting the cotton industry to sleep, but that of course would put an end to the whole country's economy, as Uzbekistan is the 4th largest producer of cotton(practically it's only crop, thanks be to Stalin).
CAUSE and ...
Tashkent taxi's are very odd - ask the price and it's 3000sum. don't ask, jump in to a car, and you can give what you like down to about 500sum!
Also one of my favourite facts, although it's starting
A Colourful stall in the Market
to grate now is that the largest banknote is 1000sum = 30p.
I found myself also disgusted at the price of tea in Tashkent - 10p a cup, what an outrage! and then I had to check myself. I realise I was paying tourist price in the capital, and i was more used to the 10p a pot that you get elsewhere in the country.
There are more photos below