Mary > Ashgabat 366km
Flat road again today through mostly desert, good pavement, very hot another 45 degree day.
The Russian cryllic alphabet is no longer used here, (it changed in 2006 I think), so the letters are more familiar with added dots, flicks and squiggles.
Petrol is very cheap in Turkmenistan but we were surprised at the lack of petrol stations – only 4 in total in Mary and just a few on our ride today. In fact we ran out but fortunately had some reserve in one of our 5ltr containers.
They are very strict on speed here – 40 means 40 and best to do so because they are Police checks looking for drugs and refugees mainly, and Stop means a complete not a rolling stop – the locals adhere to the rules.
In Ashgabat you get fined if your car is dirty, and we were advised to have clean bikes if we want to ride in the city during the day – haha – fortunately we did clean our bikes in Dushanbe so we should pass any expectations. Also there is a curfew between 10:00pm and 6:00am when no one is allowed to be on the streets.
In the last 17 years this city has been re-invented and all the buildings are white marble with gold trim and domes. The architecture is really creative, ie the Ministry of Books was a multi storey building in the shape of a book. Horses are a very important part of Turkmenistan and there is even a Ministry of Horses.
A lookout – inside its gold of course – women are always cleaning
One of the founders of the Turkmen people – the First President renamed all the months of the year after these men for the people to remember their heritage. The current President has changed the names back to those we know.
Another gold statue of the First President
The Wedding Palace
An air conditioned bus stop
Like the one in Dubai
An accurate thermometer – 41 and it wasn’t yet lunchtime. The heat keeps climbing until 5:00pm then it starts to cool.
An enclosed ferris wheel
We are not permitted to take photos of policemen or any of the buildings where they are present so it is very controlled. The Asian Games are to be held here in about a month so it will be interesting to see how that control will cope with so many visitors.
The parks are very well laid out with multiple fountains and lots of green, quite an achievement in itself especially considering this is in a desert area so requires a lot of water to keep it that way. Women are seen all day and everywhere sweeping the streets, the kerbs, the gardens. One of my good friends would love this place, it all looks like it has had much Janola used on it !
The buildings and parks are well presented and laid out, but we felt the heart of the city was missing.
The Director at the travel company organising our time in Turkmenistan wanted to meet us so we went to the office and did that. They had been told to look after us well and I think he wanted to make sure we were happy with everything, which of course we are.