Friday, June 16, 2006


For starters, Turkmenistan was really good (subtracting the taxi drivers who are our mortal enemies!!) and I am proud to now be able to say that I have successfully been through ALL of Central Asia and ALL of the "Stans" before the age of 15. We only had a quick visit in Turkmenistan due to the 5 day transit visa. We did get to see a few things though. Our first stop was a dry, old west look a like town named Konye-Urgench. We saw some old minarets, mausoleums and medressas! The people there were extremely nice and helpful like everyone else in the country. Our first day we got driven to the sights and our hotel by the ticket office guy. How random, eh? Then we took an extremely HOT, 10 hour minibus to Ashgabat, the capital. The country side is a complete desert with sand dunes for the most part and there are lots of camels roaming about.
Ashgabat was extremely clean, quiet and very beautiful. The city has tons of monument parks, fountains, wide streets and trees! The president basically just builds statues of himself and makes all the major buildings have at least one picture of him in/on it all over the place and builds buildings for the hell of it. It's total Sim City! But geez, if you got the money, why not....hahah! We stayed there for two nights at a really friendly family guest house.
From there we went to Turkmenbashi to catch our boat across the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan on my birthday. We got an early start and drove in the sweetest car I've been in in the last year and it even had A/C ( none of this 15 km/hour, rickety, old, paint peeling Indian bus, ahhaah). The ride only took 5 hours or so when it should have been more like 12 hours. As you can see, we were HAULING BUTT!! Other than having to slow down for camels, police checks or pot holes, we were cruising at 180 km/hour!! SO fun!! When we got there the taxi driver tries to charge us 4 x the price we had agreed on. So predictable! I knew it was too good to be true, hehe. The taxi driver stood around causing a scene for a while, expecting us to pay him then finally left after Ammon's "Oscar winning performance", as he put it. Ammon was frantically pulling out his pockets pretended he had no extra money to pay the taxi with and demonstrating sleeping on the curb. Sometimes I'm not convinced he ISN'T a crazed, poor, lost man, with the places he's been travelling these days! The ticket office wasn't open and they told us it would be "tonight". We sat for over 24 hours in the waiting room and poor mom stayed up the ENTIRE night hoping for the ticket office to open and the obvious, watching our bags. Of course it was VERY nerve racking not knowing if we would get on the boat or not in time before our visa ran out. So lucky lucky me, I got to sleep on the hard floor, freezing my arse off in the A/C waiting room on my sweet 16th birthday, ahhaha! But I DID get to see the Caspian Sea after all, thanks to Ammon. I always get what I want...don't I, heheh?
It wasn't until 11:00am the next day that they even opened the ticket office. The boat didn't leave until 6:00 p.m.
I had an absolute blast on the boat! The people ( there were only about 60 people in total) were extremely friendly. We had a bunch of teenagers with us so we got along well. There were a couple kids who could translate for us so that was good. We laughed and joked and talked a lot. It could have almost passed as a slumber party. The only thing we needed to complete the scene was my birthday cake and some ice cream, hehe! Oh yes, and on the very first day of being 16 I got proposed to by some dude's father. Hhaha, he was so excited about it and saying I was his daughter and Ammon would be his son-in-law. Oh man......I just felt sorry for the 13 year old translater who was laughing and looked so embarrassed asking me to marry the guy's son. It was great but I think he was getting his hopes up a little too much.......
We arrived this morning at 6:00 am in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, our 15th country so far and definately not the last!


At 5:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

awww!!! wat a good story!!! tee hee

u should have said "i do" !!!




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