Day 18

18. May 2000, Ashgabad to Turkmenabat (Chardzhou)

The route today at the beginning is much more populated and greener than the parts of Turkmenistan we saw two days ago. Still most of it seems to be nothing but irrigated desert and oasis areas next to rivers: there is sand everywhere. The second part is a real desert and we drive through a desert nature reserve to finally arrive in Chardzhou. We measure a reasonable temperature of 39.6°C outside.

TC 61: Ashgabad OUT
TC 62: Bayramaly region
16 421.0 km
TC 63: Chardzhou IN
52 216.15 km

Overall 37 minutes penalty

The official results can be looked up on this website

Cotton in the desert? Soviets decided that the best way to govern the nomad Turkmens was to make them farmers. The new governments see no alternative to continuing that tradition. The greatest sufferer is the Aral Sea which is shrinking due to the water taken out of it and its rivers.

Five of 411 mosques survived the Soviet regime, judging by the looks of it, this must be one of them.
Overall Turkmenistan is a very secular Muslim state with many women wearing miniskirts, some people eating pork and everyone drinking alcohol. Northern Iranis come to Ashgabat to "have fun"

Welcome to the Sanatoriy Profilaktorisi - acceptable youth hostel standard (except for the bathrooms)


the desert in its natural state at the nature reserve

This Aston Martin gets repaired at the hotel with mobile welding equipment.