Tag Archives: Turkmenistan


This is a sad day.

Of course, this lil’ bit of feel good had to come to an end at some point – it’s not all apricots in the sun – and now the disastrous Central Asian visa situation turns out to have something of a sting in the tail.

I have been rejected – not once, but TWICE, my people. Not only do the Iranians not want me cruising into town this summer, but now the Turkmen have also decided they can do without my snarky comments about their national cuisine and everyday standards of dress. Iran off the menu, so too Turkmenistan. After over two months of waiting, the esteemed embassies have decided there’ll be none of my sort, thanks awfully – but not entirely helpful to wait until I’m practically next door.

This poses a problem – how on earth am I going to make it back to the European Rhubarb Trading Centres with my way West blocked by diplomatic nonsense?

A few options:

  • Option 1: Re-apply for the Turkmonsters – involving a wait of another fortnight, and no guarantee of success
  • Option 2: Head North – boats also leave from Aktau in Kazakhstan to Baku in Azerbaijan. However, they leave roughly every seven to ten days, and Aktau is hardly PARTY ZENTRAAL there on the edge of the steppes. It’s also damn expensivo. And I’ll need another Kazakhstan visa.
  • Option 3:Head South – Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and boat bound for the Gulf from where to re-assess and sniff out what traces of rhubarb remain. Fraught with hassle, and, indeed, a fair amount of conflict.
  • Option 4: – at least in China I can order a ferocious gongbao jiding and get a cold beer without butchering too many of the local languages. Not exactly commensurate with the ‘Heading West’ theme.
  • Option 5: Get the Uzbek shenanigans out my system, then fly to Baku from Tashkent. I know, I know. It means getting on a plane, thereby disappointing all you rhubarb purists.

Bit of audience participation here, folks, so:

  • If you want Option 1, text message GO RHUBARB 1 to 35469
  • If you want Option 2, text message PARTY ON STEPPES Y’ALL to 35469
  • If you want Option 3, text message HEEEEELL YEEEEAAH to 35469
  • If you want Option 4, text message ZAI LAI YI FENRRR to 35469
  • If you want Option 5, text message A PLANE, SERIOUSLY? to 35469

I’ll let you know the results by Friday, when I should be somewhere in the desert snapping photos of medressas and speaking dispicable things about Turkmonsters.

There is the strong smell of rejection in the air, people. Small packets of lurve and ‘high fives’ may be left in the comments whilst I mull over my options.

Surprising Start Date: Tomorrow

It’s been a busy couple of days. As I enter my last full week in Beijing it has occurred to me that I have approximately six years’ worth of detritus that needs to be packed/shipped/stored/chucked/flogged. That’s quite a pile of stuff. After the various purges of the wardrobe, there are hundreds of books, photos, knick-knacks, kitchen bits & pieces – all of which need attention.

To add a dash of pressure, I’ve decided to bring my start date forward… to tomorrow. Cue packing frenzy and stressful afternoon.

Not at all helped, of course, by news from my Iranian travel agent that it’s highly likely that I will be rejected for my Iranian visa. I must admit, i was starting to wonder how long it might take, given that I applied around 3 weeks ago.

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