Turkmenabad to Merv
Merv Travel Blog› entry 11 of 13 › view all entries
After dinner in Turkmenabad, we hopped in another car to ride to Merv that evening. This would allow us to travel through the boring desert in the evening, and would let us get up bright and early to tour ancient Merv. We left Turkmenabad just as dusk hit, and our driver could speak very little Russian, which was the language I was using to travel in Turkmenistan. Forget the English, hardly anyone in that part of the world speaks English, and we were certainly outside the Persian circle of influence ever since leaving Bukhara. So, I was relying on my 100 words of Uzbek which is roughly similar to Turkmen. Let's just say we did not speak much, although the guy seemed friendly enough.
I did manage to get from the taxi driver that the ancient ruins of Merv are actually not that close to modern day Mary, but rather are about 30 minutes away at a town called Bairam Ali.
We found the hotel the driver was talking about, and a nice Russian lady with her two daughters owned and ran the place. They showed us a basic, but clean two room suite, for a total of $7 USD a night. I probably could have bargained them down, but I had never had a suite offered to me for so little, so I took the room. The water in the toilet leaked, but otherwise the place was fine. We slept well, except that a mosquito bit the boys in the other room all night, and they woke up with mosquito bites the next morning. Oh well. That's part of traveling! They didn't complain much.