Ashgabat, the capitol of Turkmenistan, is a weird, weird place. There is only one television station, and it broadcasts state propaganda. There is not much around, other than the politicized, monolithic construction of the Soviet government and President Niyazov. All of the façades are in white marble and gold. The hotel rooms are potentially bugged, as are any of the restaurants foreigners frequent. There is only one ATM in the entire country, and it only accepts Master Card. This city is weird. I want to get out as soon as possible.
Pam has left and gone home to Canada. She was unable to obtain her Uzbekistanian visa, seeing as we arrived in Ashgabat late Friday night, there is no embassy on Saturday, and the car and I must exit the country by the end of the day on Sunday. Our visas and paper work screwed us, and now I must drive on alone.
Luckily, Lachlan (Team Polar Bear Posing as People), Peter and Darian (unsure of their team names), and I are now in a convoy to get out of Ashgabat and out of Turkmenistan.
After stocking up on supplies, we pull off at our first opportunity once we exit the city perimeters and eat a canned lunch.
“I think the President of Turkmenistan is like the wizard.” Says Lachlan
“Where is the yellow brick road then?” asks Darian
“That is it right there…” Lachlan points to the highway, the only major road in all of Turkmenistan.
He points to me “… and we have Dorthy, I’m the Tin Man, and you two can figure out which one of you is the Scarecrow and which one is the Lion.”
In this rendition of The Widzard of Oz, Dorthy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion are leaving Oz for the mystical land of Mongolia!