AFRICASIAEURO YOUTUBE – OUR YOUTUBE CONNECTION – AMP PAGE FORMAT
CONTINUED NARRATION OF EVENTS IN TURKMENISTAN ( BORDER WITH UZBEKISTAN)
From Mary to Turkmenabad it is about 240 kilometers and a few more to the border crossing in Farab.
We make good progress, we drive first through the steppe, then through the desert, but the road is catastrophic.
Everywhere potholes so deep that you could bury a dog in it. Finally, about ten kilometers from Turkmenabad, the mother of all potholes lurks on us. A short time later, the BMW acts spongy, and I know: the rear tire has a flat.
Not even two minutes after I unload our luggage, a Turkmen SUV stops, and the two inmates offer us help. We drive to a workshop a few miles away, and I buy a tire repair kit.
On closer inspection, it turns out that the tire repair kit is not sufficient, the tire has had it; the tire is torn over five-inch long.
Right when we discuss what we can do our Savior approaches: Hassan, the Partisan. Forty tons of trucks and containers are slowing down, and ranting in five different languages rain down on us. We hear that he wants to strap the bike on the back of the container and are skeptical. Hassan does not hesitate.
The container trailer goes down hydraulically, and the injured BMW hangs on the rear. We get into Hassan’s cab and spend the next two days on the truck.
As our Turkmen transit visa expires today, we have to cross the border to avoid problems and penalties. In fact, we are there at about seven o’clock and join the long line of truck drivers waiting to cross the first frontier gate – the forecourt to hell.
Hassan sends me forward to move to the local guard, to let us pass, which I succeed after much gesticulating. Then the next queue comes, and it is even longer.
Meanwhile, it is dark, I intensify my plea in front of the guards of the border bar, and again the hard-nosed officials show human emotions and leave our truck pass before before the long queue. Level three starts.
And this develops an interest to reach the top level officials, with the focus shifted to our papers.
Many a many people with Uniforms inspect the suspended BMW, our passports come under endless scrutiny, and our details along with the vehicle documents registered in long lists in large books.
When that’s over, everything starts all over again. Finally, even the last customs officer is convinced that we are not hijacking any valuable Turkmen cultural heritage but only a motorcycle with a flat tire and we are allowed to pass – to the Uzbek immigration office.
The officials there have other camouflage uniforms and assault rifles but are no less accurate. Although computers are in the offices and ( also used ), but the entry of data takes forever, and for security, everything is again written down by hand and also copied.
No sooner one of us has “finished” and beckons us on, already comes another agent who takes us, and the whole procedure starts from scratch. Hassan with his container does not fare much better, but he has been shipping cargo for forty years and knows all about it.
By now it’s almost midnight, Mosquitoes are buzzing outside, and we’re pretty much done for today. After all, we have left Turkmenistan in time and hope for a repair in Bukhara, the nearest major city.
CONTINUED NEXT: SAMARKAND