A Gilded Cage

Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan August 9, 2019 Getting off the train in Turkmenbashi at 9:30 am, I headed to the port straight away after stocking up on food and water. Who knew? Maybe a cargo ship would leave for Baku today. In the gleaming new building – white of course, with the requisite gold trim – I … More A Gilded Cage

Riding the Rails

Turkmenabat to Mary August 5, 2019 Surprisingly painless to buy a train ticket, I wondered at the lack of rudeness on the part of the ticket agent. They must have not got the memo that all ticket agents in ex-Soviet countries received. The lack of internet and wifi to blame perhaps? Waiting in the cavernous … More Riding the Rails

Fabled Margiana

Merv, Turkmenistan August 6, 2019 The Greeks called it Margiana. Some called it Margush. Located squarely on the trade route between Asia and Europe, at the western terminus of Transoxiana, it was once called Marv-i-Shah-Jahan, or Merv, Queen of the World. The changing course of Amu Darya had over the centuries, caused settlements to shift … More Fabled Margiana

This is Your Lunch

Turkmenabat, Turkmenistan August 5, 2019 I needed manats, and knowing to steer clear of the banks, headed straight to the bazar. Thanks to the huge discrepancy between official and unofficial rates, Turkmenistan like Uzbekistan before, has a thriving black market. But word is, undercover police are plentiful and discovering the result of breaking laws in … More This is Your Lunch

To Turkmenistan

Bukhara,  Uzbekistan  August 5, 2019 The five day marathon begins today and I am off to Turkmenistan.  This is a country with precious little information available.  What there is comes from online forums and travellers met on the road. Word is, Internet and WiFi are not quite there yet.  I guess I will just have … More To Turkmenistan

Over the Moon

Tashkent, Uzbekistan July 22, 2019 I got it! I got it! I got it! I got it! I got it! I got it! I got it! That is the refrain playing through my head. I still cannot believe that I got this infamously difficult visa. The rumors on traveler grapevine of Tashkent having a higher … More Over the Moon

Infamous Transit Visa

Tashkent, Uzbekistan July 12, 2019 My original hare-brained scheme had been to cross from Afghanistan to Turkmenistan by land but the finicky Turkmenistan visa proved elusive. I figured Herat would be the place to do some fact-finding and had even found someone who lived in Torghundi. Yes, the border is open for Afghans and Turkmens … More Infamous Transit Visa