Crossing the Uzbek-Turkmen border
Turkmenabat Travel Blog› entry 10 of 13 › view all entries
The trip from
The actual border crossing is a series of huts in the middle of the desert. As you approach the border, local traffic is stopped and vehicles cannot proceed any further. Only vehicles with permission to go across the border can proceed through the last two kilometers. We unloaded the kids, and waited in the desert for a van that would take us to the immigration post. After riding the van a few minutes we arrived at immigration. The surly Uzbek officials stamped us out of the country. The angry Uzbek customs officials then inspected our bags. Every dollar in our wallets was counted, and I got a thorough patting down to check for any smuggled items. Then we were free to walk across the 500 meters of no man’s land.
The Turkmen side gave us a new surprise. The whole border was closed for lunch, a two hour lunch. It was lunchtime, and the kids were hungry, but there was not a shop in sight. So, we just sat there waiting for the border to open. Both boys did admirably well, and after a little time a group of Samarkandi women on their way to
We cleared immigration with no problem. The process was similar to entering
We finally cleared all the administrative hurdles to enter the country. We hit the inevitable crowd of taxi drivers scamming the unknowing tourists. I was wary. One guy approached me and offered to take us to Turkmenabad, 45 minutes away, for $10 USD. That was for all four of us. I demanded to see the car first before I agreed. He took me to a BMW 740. No way! Was he serious? I asked the price again, and he confirmed it was $2.50 a head, no other passengers. So, we took it. We cruised along at 140 kilometers an hour in the nicest car I’ve ever ridden in for as much as it costs to ride a few miles in most countries. Amazing. We went straight to the train station where we were informed that there were no tickets for a week. So, we decided to go for dinner at a typical Russian restaurant, ordered schii (no they didn’t have it). Have you ever noticed that Russian restaurants don’t ever have anything on the menu. I even watched a spoof on