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Travel Blogs from Ashgabat
... off the bus into a large car park, empty but for a little portacabin towards which a man in a jacket with a badge on the sleeve was heading - he looked official so I thought I would try him.
And so I ended up in the cabin, the tea room for the Ashgabat taxi drivers. I am known for my scathing opinion of taxi drivers in most of the countries I travel. Like sharks, they circle, looking for prey, sniffing out the foreigner who doesn't know the going ...
... After a week in a shoebox 8 bed dorm I felt like I had died and gone to heaven!
So I (and my colleague) had a week to get everything setup, before 30 international sports journalists and broadcasters arrived for the 3 day event. As always when I am in Turkmenistan I seemed to suffer from insomnia - so I didn't sleep for more than 3 or 4 hours each night, I was running on pure adrenalin by the time the event started.
Once the first media stepped off the plane ...
... that's a red rag to a bull for me so I tell them I don't understand and only speak English and keep walking. Though once a senior officer was called to reinforce the 'advice'
The odd thing is. Serdar, whose views I accept and respect about a lot of things (like too many policemen) thinks it is all great and there is no problem with the president being re-elected with over 90% of the vote! Oh - and the first president banned Opera and Ballet (what - men without trousers!)
... situation here, I insisted we do so as Gaeilge, having read about the probability of bugging.
As twilight fell on Ashgabat, unexpectedly guide-free (a liberty I did not foresee), we ambled across the road to a restaurant; for the first time since our departure, a titanic struggle ensued as we attempted to make ourselves understood; there was virtually no mutual vocabulary. The results were surprisingly passable. The night continued to accentuate ...
... this part of the world too. Apparently very few roaming camels are wild. Most belong to somebody and are identified by a fabric collar around their necks.
*Hitting a camel would seriously damage the truck, so AG takes extra care.
*The Turkmenistan border town of Dasoguz also boasts wide tree lined boulevards and a few ambitious architectural features. But of course on a much smaller scale than Ashgabat. It does however have a racecourse and a ...