backpacking in turkmenistan at a glance
turkmenistan with a glance – After Iran subsequent stop of my Silk road trip and also the entrance to Central Asia is Turkmenistan. The govt caused it to be extremely difficult and expensive to obtain a tourist visa, so a lot of the backpackers arrive on 5 day transit visa. It‘s the most difficult visa to obtain in Asia, along side the one for Buthan.
turkmenistan at a glance
I arrived upon the 5th of September. After being almost kidnapped using a local journalist who wanted in order to make an interview with me and likewise marry me, I finally need to the border. The Iranian border was alright, I‘d been the only real tourist, therefore the policemen were quite interested to discover me I guess so that they invited me on their office, offered me some tea, biscuits and dates while checking the passports from the others. When leaving, they insisted to bring the remainder of the biscuits and dates with me and also as I kept saying no, no, no.. he just dumped everything inside my bag (without putting it inside a plastic bag first ) ! So never say NO to Iranian policemen J, they had been nice though, and part of them really handsome.
The remainder of the people in the border were all Turkmen, travelling daily to Iran and returning with many products to sell, like detergent, soap, etc. All of us took a mini bus towards the Turkmen border (15 min ride, including 2 passport checks ). Towards the end of them, all of the Turkmen inside the mini bus knew that I‘d been travelling alone, not married, 30 year old, from Bulgaria, and I’ve studied Russian in college. They had been all really friendly and nice, exchanged all of the Iranian money I had left, part of them even offered me to merry his son but as I had only 5 days in Turkmenistan we actually had to push it (the weddings listed below are an enormous thing, needs many preparation ), so it was eventually decided its wasn‘t very reasonable J. It was eventually like one big family.
Probably the saga started. Declarations, luggage checks, fees to pay out (10 US $ entrance fee + 2$ fee for paying in $ ! ! ). Once we were done with the paperwork and checks, I had to visit this private room and maybe have a private conversation with someone in charge from the private things there (maybe a personal ). It was eventually a young guy who had been more flirting with me than other activities, asking me why in the age of 30 i´m still not married, especially being so beautiful, smart and simply amazing (In Turkmenistan a girl like me wouldn’t be left single ). Finally he let me go and I‘d been from there.
In case you apply for any Turkmen visa, be very careful whenever you let them know the name from the border you‘re gonna enter the nation from. Otherwise you may have to suffer an enormous change of plans… identical to I did. I experienced a couch waiting for myself in Ashgabat (the capital ) but apparently I wasn’t allowed to reach there because givenfor my visa it said Saraghs (Iranian border ) – Farab (Uzbek border ) and Ashgabat Isn‘t in between. When I got my visa in Ankara, I‘d been asked which border Im planning to make use of and I told them Saraghs because that certain appeared givenfor my quick search on internet and didn’t think that after that I might be limited to travel only inside the area between borders, direction Uzbekistan. If you plan to visit Turkmenistan from Iran on the transit visa (depending on Uzbekistan ), its better in case you point the border near Ashgabat, this method for you to go there by bus from Mashhad, after which directly towards the city and can still have time to visit Uzbekistan.
CULTURE AND PEOPLE
For centuries, the area that includes Turkmenistan was referred to as Turkestan. Caravans loaded with silks from Turkey and spices from China and India followed the Silk Road on the method to Asia Minor and Europe. Nowadays Turkmenistan has become the country upon the silk road that‘s the most difficult to travel through because of the government and all of the obstacles the backpackers need to manage.
The gas, electricity and water are free inside the country however the matches aren‘t, using the result that a lot of Turkmen keep their gas stoves burning 24 hours each day. Petrol designed to be extremely cheap also – 60 litre for 1 $ (0, 02 $ per 1 litre ), but now you will get only 5 litters for any $. Still a significant deal when compared with Europe.
Well, everything is complicated in Turkmenistan. And accompanied by those feelings that you will be constantly being ripped off. A lot of the people that have travelled to developing countries understand that feeling, sometimes it may even ruin your entire day… but only until you meet subsequent nice one who constitute for it J.
My room and breakfast in the taxi driver’s house
Normal people I met were very friendly and nice but others dealing with tourists were such swindlers… but additionally nice simultaneously. Every time I had to bargain for prices (taxis and accommodation ), they had been lying, making up stories and exaggerating. It wasn’t that a challenge to discover the actual price – just asking someone in Russian What‘s normal to pay out if so. For instance the taxi driver who took me coming from the border wound up inviting me in her house, having dinner with his family and likewise sleeping there FOR FREE… but simultaneously he overcharged me to the taxi to Mary (250 km ) a minimum of 10 times more (I knew the actual price since the guys in the border told me that I shouldn’t pay greater than XX manat ) but he was so convincing, explaining me how all of the prices went up, how the petrol is very expensive now (5 litters for 1 $ ! ! ! ! Well, when compared with 4 years back it was eventually 60 litters for 1 $ ), changed the value about 700 times. I simply didn’t have the ability to react to a person lying for you with your face but simultaneously opening your home for you personally. So I simply gave up and paid what he asked for, learning how overpriced It‘s. It was eventually just annoying and tiring created me suspicious whether individuals are honest or just simply attempting to trick you out. Not a very good feeling in the least.
Learning how you can walk
People listed below are Muslim but They‘re Not as religious like the Iranians, also I didn’t hear Azan anywhere. Girls usually wear long colourful dress, but a significant tight one (I believe it was eventually even sexy and provocative ), and lots of the strategies a scarf that covers half the hair. But never black. The scholars wear a consistent, girls in green long dresses and also the university students blue or red – they take turns : someday blue, next day red ; usually possess the hair in 2 braids, looks quite nice but probably they‘re hot because it gets as much as 50 degrees in summer.
A lot of the people speak good Russian so a minimum of there was no language barrier. It´s funny how important will be married here. More or less my conversations using the locals went of that sort (for instance inside a shop, always in Russian ) : “How much is? Five manat. Can I get one please? Here you‘re. Are you currently married? ”
Therefore the usual questions are asked inside a reverse order : Are you currently married? How old are you currently? Where are you against?
Im seriously considering acquiring a T-shirt saying : “Yes, Im not married, Im travelling alone and yes, I’m 30. And again yes, you heard it, 30”.
In Mary, I slept in the foremost disgusting hostel or anything that place was, I believe its the worst place I have spent a night at inside my entire life… But hotels were really expensive, and also the taxi driver just took me there as I asked for something cheap.. Well, I still managed to get a shower, probably I‘d been the very first person there asking to get a shower… Will spare you the details cos I am a pleasant person : )
With the desert upon the method to Turkmenabat
No building without having the photo from the president
Second biggest city in Turkmenistan, people still call it using its old Russian name Charjou.
Internet doesn’t work here… I tried and it‘s so slow that really pisses you off. Its also expensive, 1h is about 2, 5 $ but usually after half an hour or so attempting to open your gmail or yahoo account, you only quit.
Here I met this sweet girl (Jemal ) who had been working inside a Motor oil shop and once she finished work we met having a friend of hers and walked all around the city. Again, she didn’t let me purchase anything because I‘d been a guest in her own country. Also convinced me to remain an additional day in her own house before I head to Uzbekistan. Which was a what I needed – someone local, smiley and positive in order to make up to the not so great impression the nation left on me thus far. Additionally, Jemal is an open-minded girl and mindful of everything which was a happening in town.
I spent the entire afternoon in her own shop as well as helped her open an account on CS, so now Turkmenabat has its first CS representative (CS Isn‘t extremely popular in Turkmenistan ). Through the night, her brothers drove us all around the city so we took photos at any possible place they thought it may be interesting for myself. Jemal was speaking Turkmen to everyone in her own family but Russian to her friends and also to the folks generally. Because of her I got to understand more the Turkmen culture and lifestyle. Many things are forbidden there. For instance the girls aren‘t allowed to pass the driving test and drive before they turn 35 ! Foreigners aren‘t allowed to become upon the streets after 11pm !
Doing the homework
Also the training is very expensive – the cheapest you might cost you 18000$… For the reason a lot of the young people attend study abroad – the foremost usual destinations are Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Russia… Jemals has three brothers, the oldest one studied medicine in Kyrgyzstan, the next one in Turkey and also the youngest one was close to leave to Ukraine for their first year inside the Uni. Jemal being an only girl inside the family wasn’t that lucky, her dad didnt let her go abroad to review.
Bumped into your wedding shooting
I must admit the Turkmen flag is the foremost beautiful one I’ve seen thus far. Just my estimation.