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Turkmenabad, Mary and Ashgabat - Days 1 to 4 in Turkmenistan.

I only have 5 days to cross the country and reach the Caspian sea to catch a ferry to Baku in Azerbaijan. Since regulations for foreign visitors are very strict I have to travel with a driver and a guide therefor I decided to ride my bike during 2 days and do the rest seating in the car. Frustrating but I have no other choice in order to cover the distance within this tiny time frame.

 

On the first day, sand dunes on the way to Turkmenabad.

 

The pride of Turkmenistan: their carpets.

 

Here I am turkmen roads...ready to challenge your summer heat!

 

 

Russian sidecars are everywhere.

 

A local round about.

 

Morning encounter.

 

 

Me and my new friends...it's only 9 am and it feels "warm"!

 

 

Gaz is one of Turkmenistan three main ressources, the other two behing oil and coton.

 

An old russian truck and in the back ground a local village, houses have light colors and have no particular architecture, they look very russian.

 

Coton fields....those that "killed" the Aral Sea up north since they are irrigated from the Amurdaria river.

 

Around 2 pm on that day, riding with a nice 40 degrees celcius on my watch...

 

Next day, on the way to Ashgabat...

 

The Turkmen national flag, my bike and a crazy french!

 

Beyond those mountaines: Iran.

 

Ashgabat....the white marble capital city of Turkmenistan.

 

 

President Niazov died in 2006, this is his mausoleum, built by the french Bouygues Batiment company.

 

The biggest mosk in Central Asia: it can host 20,000 visitors and is an amazing spectacle of white italian marble topped with golden leaves from Iran, Russia and Armenia. It is said to have cost half a billion dollars. I was built by french Bouygues Batiment as well.

 

 

 

In Ashgabat, a building site belonging to Bouygues Turkmen. Pictures are forbidden, I took this shot from a cab while passing by.

 

A giant silk national flag....it is said to be recorded in the Guiness book.

 

The ministry of health, built by a turkish firm.

 

White marble, white marble and white marble, anything new being built up must be white and preferably made of marble.

 

 

A national museum in the background and a national hero in the foreground.

 

 

White marble again!

 

This is the only shot I did of former president Mr Niazov, there are many more around the city, that one is super kitch and stands at the horses national monument.

 

The golden dom on the left is the first presidential palace, the two others on the right are the new presidential palace built by french company Bouygues Batiment. I could not get closer than that. The white dome on the left of the crane is the Defence Ministry building, it was buit 10 years ago by Bouygues Batiment as well: I remember it well since at that time I was working for Geodis Malaysia, a french freight forwarder. I had been in charge of the shipping of that dom! The supplier was malaysian and it came into pieces that were loaded into open top 40' containers before sailing towards Bandar Abbas in Iran to catch their onward-transit towards Ashgabat.

 

 

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