The hotel room in Turkmenabat was alright:
If you like a hard bed.
I asked my guide if I could strap a camera to my chest and film in the city, and after some deliberation we decided that maybe the small action cam on the side of the Caboose would be a better idea.
So here’s today’s Let’s Walk video:
The road out of Turkmenabat was broad and straight:
Sometimes I would see an old bus:
Or a factory in the distance:
I didn’t see many women who wore headscarves, though some did:
It was still pretty hot during the day, so I didn’t envy them.
Sometimes I would see a train:
And one time there was a shop that sold inflatable balls that looked like watermelons, just like the one I had been playing with on the shores of Issyk-kul just a few weeks ago:
There were pink flowers:
And there was another river (or a canal):
One time this gentleman and his son stopped me to provide me with bread, water, and cola:
And then, at around noon, I passed it, the gate of Turkmenabat:
We set up an improvised lunch camp in the shade of a container in the desert. This is what I was looking at for the next three hours (though I slept through part of it):
And then the road was ours:
There were attempts to stop the desert from encroaching on the road, something I had seen in the Taklamakan desert in Xinjiang a few years earlier:
And – for some strange, unexplained reason – there were a lot of plastic bottles stuck into the bushes upside down:
We figured that they were probably there to mark a certain spot. But why were there so many?
When I say “we”, I am usually talking about the Caboose and myself, but during this part of the trip, it often means us and my guide and my driver. They were always there, waiting for me in their car:
Sometimes, just like on the roads that ran through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, there were graves (or memorials) along the way:
I figured they were for traffic victims.
At other times there were written notes in the bushes:
I did not know what they meant, and I did not want to remove them to show them to my guide.
The road had been pretty good around Turkmenabat, but it gradually got worse as we were leaving the city:
At this point I popped in my earphones and blasted some old school Incubus. Why had they gone the way of the Red Hot Chili Peppers? It was a tragedy.
I saw a lot of trucks, mostly from Turkmenistan of course, but there were also Iranian trucks and trucks from Turkey. Not once did I see a vehicle from any of the other Central Asian countries.
Whoever lost his Iranian license plate probably dived straight into a bureaucratic hell at the border:
We were going to camp in the desert, so my guide and my driver set out about an hour before sunset and looked for a spot to set up camp. They built a fire and started cooking up a nice stew of vegetables we had bought at the bazaar in Turkmenabat:
It was a very good stew:
I set up my tent, then I sat down and looked up, and I saw the Milky Way in all its glory:
I had a hard time appreciating it, though, because I was tired as hell, and my legs hurt. Also, I had caught some pretty bad blisters. Sadly, not all of them were treatable. These were the ones that were:
Needle, iodine, tissue:
The next two weeks were going to be hard as hell.