Central Asia

June - October 2010


Gold teeth replaced veils and black chadors after crossing no-man's land. Entry into Turkmenistan was arduous. Numerous officials did very little except distribute currency declaration forms. And collect $15 entry tax. They were particularly efficient at this. Outside, an Iranian truck with a load of crash-damaged cars from Dubai was inspected by a team of ten Turkmen soldiers. The eldest appeared no more than 14. For no apparent reason two orange flares were ignited.

Eventually I was instructed to unload panniers and pass them through the x-ray machine. I gave the officials my passport:

'Where are you from?' 'Anglia/Ing-lis-tan/England' I said 'Ireland?' 'No, not quite. But nearly.' 'Ok, you can go now.' Variations of this exchange were then repeated with a further three border officials.