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  • Day7

    Night by the Door of Hell

    May 14, 2019 in Turkmenistan ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    After a short drive to the border the driver said goodbye and pointed toward the deserted border crossing . When I walked the 100 meters to the gate out of Uzbekistan I found a soldier hiding in his shelter who gave my passport a thorough check before saying with a big smile “ kangaroo “, he then pointed me to a building in the wasteland where they stamped my passport and eventually pointed me to Turkmenistan a further 150 meters away.
    Through the gate I went and eventually was met at the gate into Turkmenistan by another soldier who checked my documents out before pointing to another building. In broken English the next person then started the paperwork, all written in a notebook before directing me to the next building where a more official guy started writing 4 different permits all in duplicate which I had to sign, then charged me $US75 to get a visa and something else (who would know what). At this point my guide arrived, a very bright 20 year old called Nikita or Nick to his friends.
    Nick was a great young guy who had spent a year in the US on a scholarship and whose main aim in life is to return there and open his own business. Anyway that made things easier as I then had to have my belongings searched before finally being let through customs. Next we walked the 1.5kms along the dusty track to where the rest of Turkmenistan starts and our car was waiting.
    We headed off to Darvaza in the desert where we had a look at the gas crater (the result of a Russian gas drilling accident) it is known as the Door of Hell or the Gates of Hell and is quite spectacular. We looked around in daylight then after dinner came back in the dark (I’m sleeping 100 meters from it in a yurt).
    This morning after a quick breakfast we headed off through the desert for another 4hours till reaching Ashgabat. The hotel I’m staying at is quite magnificent, a real change from last nights accommodation
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