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An Author on the loose
12th May 2018 - Travels on the SIlk Road

We arrived in Ashgabat at 3 am, having left Dubai at midnight. What's with these times? I can't imagine flying into a city at 3 am for a business meeting. Perhaps business meetings aren't big here?

The airport deparature lounge was a pot pourri of different costumes and ethnicities. Cavan and I had fun playing 'pick the country' as we people watched. The women in the photo are wearing traditional Turkmeni costume. A group of them and their husbands had been in Dubai on a shopping trip. TV's, other electrical stuff, shoes, you name it. And some had bought in quantity. As we went through customs we watched as they unpacked boxes and boxes of gear for inspection. Whether they intended to sell it on, who knows. Trading is of course part of this region's history. What was admirable was how prepared they were, both for travel, and for inspection. They all carried large reels of duct tape and box cutters so that they could seal and unseal their parcels at will.

Our hotel is clean and the service courteous, but the amenities are simple.The internet is patchy and facebook doesn't seem to work. Some sort of censorship perhaps? Carpets are old and threadare; towels thin and mean, the woollen blanket on the bed likewise. On the plus side, there is a hair dryer! 

The people are lovely. Genuinely good humoured and happy to help dumb tourists.

The Ashgabat circus, in an exotic white and gold circular buiding, is right opposite our hotel and Cavan and I are hoping to get tickets to go their tonight. The show features Akhal Teke horses, hounds (that look awfully like greyhounds), and eagles. 

Tomorrow we officially start on our Awfully Big Adventure with a briefing at 10 am, and then we're into full-on tourist mode. Already our hotel room looks like a chinese laundry with shirts and knickers dripping off the line. With days of camping ahead of us we're trying to keep up with the housekeeping.

Next: Day 1: Ashgabat - the morning after and the city tour
Previous: Dubai

Diary Photos
12th May 2018  Akhal-Teke
First sight of an Akhal Teke horse.

12th May 2018  Doves
The opening act

12th May 2018  Doves 2

12th May 2018  The Hotel Lobby
The Hotel Lobby

12th May 2018  Altyn Hotel
Our Hotel

12th May 2018  The Circus
The magnificent Circus opposite our Hotel

12th May 2018  Ashgabat 3
Ashgabat 3

12th May 2018  Hula Hoops
Hula Hoops. No wonder she's so slim.

12th May 2018  Donkey and Monkey
Making an ass of itself

12th May 2018  Camel
Camels as well!

12th May 2018  Akhal-Teke Horses
My Favourite, the horses

12th May 2018  20180512 201330
No Description

12th May 2018  Magnificent

12th May 2018  Magnificent 2
I'm not sure I'd be thrilled if Bandit did that

12th May 2018  Queuing at the airport.
Ladies in traditional Turkmeni costume

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