First internet caf. for a wee while and sooo much has happened it’s hard to remember.
Arriving in Turkmenistan was totally crazy, I thought the Romania/Bulgaria border was mad – but this was … well … indescribable (although I will try when I’ve got more time).
Ashgabat was great, driving was very civilised … they use roundabouts the same way we do at home – which is a novelty in this part of the world 🙂 Next day we followed the signs for Mary, the next town on our route, and found ourselves on a lovely 4 lane highway … only for it to come to an end 500 meters later. We had to do a u-ey and then got totally lost … again – it’s a feature of this trip.
We arrived in Turkmenabat quite late, the going was slow because of the poor roads and the umpteen police checkpoints. Finding the border to Uzbek was virtually impossible … they’d tucked it out of the way up some poor little back street, which lead up a farm road to a skaggy village, then across a pontoon bridge which cost us $5 plus $2 and another $10, all at separate windows of the same little building. Once at the border, actually getting out of Turkmenistan was much easier than getting in.
Next stop was Bukhara … a lovely old city – and then we pushed on, passing Samarkand, Tashkent and Andijan before crossing into Kyrgyzstan at Osh. On the whole Uzbek was fairly uneventful, with very friendly locals, and a dancing policeman.
I started to feel a bit grotty after Tashkent, in Osh our B+B (or should I say, B) was horrid. I’m not sure if I got ill from the heat, exhaustion or food but by the time we got to Bishkek it was time for a day off.
Kyrgyzstan is gorgeous though, gers, horses and men in silly hats … people starting to look more Asian/Chinese too.
A days rest in Bishkek did us both the world of good, and today we are in Almaty, Kazakhstan. We got pulled by the rozzers for doing a u-ey, he said I could lose my license and then asked for $20 – eventually he gave up on this tight Englishman.
Heading north today.