Sex and the Central Asian Visa

I just want to go home. I'm tired of all this visa stuff. -- A distressed traveler at the Kazakh embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.So what does sex have to do with Central Asian visas? Simple, really. Thinking about, planning around, and procuring visas for Central Asian countries begins to dominate one’s time and mindspace -- almost to the point of obsession. … [Read more...]

The Best of Central Asia in Photos

A Kalpak and a Smile

A couple of notes, dear reader. We are headed to Myanmar and things may be quiet, or they may not. We just don't know. If you don't hear from us on the home page, take a look at "The Very Latest" on the left-hand sidebar. Twitter seems to have worked in most countries, even those with heavy internet controls and painfully slow connections.We are also still … [Read more...]

Video of the Central Asian Market Scene

Shall We Dance?

When we arrive in a new location, we usually seek out the local market. This is how we orient ourselves. Markets provide an easy way to meet real people in a friendly context. They also offer an insight into local food and culture. Central Asian markets proved no different. We found ourselves frequently sampling local fruits (OK, having fruit heaped upon us by the … [Read more...]

Reflections: Crossing the Caspian Sea

Your trip across the Caspian may provide some of the scariest and most fulfilling moments of your entire journey. -- A veteran journalist we met in Tbilisi, Georgia who had seen it all in the former Soviet Union.Although we are posting this from Pingyao, China, we dial back a few clicks to the beginning of our journey in Central Asia in an attempt to adequately … [Read more...]

From One ‘Stan to the Next

A Helping Hand

As we continue along the Silk Road in Uzbekistan, our minds often take us back to Turkmenistan, whose ancient history is longer and remains underground, unexcavated and unreconstructed.The few clicks across the Caspian Sea brought us to a world of visual stimuli significantly different than that of the Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan). This is what … [Read more...]

Rally Madness

Fast Car: Tokyo to London

Where do you find a $200,000+ Aston Martin V8 Vantage sportscar followed by a clunking white Indian Ambassador? In Turkmenistan, of course.In Uzbekistan, we've also come across small cars covered with stickers and driven by Westerners desperate for the next mechanic or gas station.What's all the fuss? Awareness, fundraising and rallies. … [Read more...]

Turkmen Radio Silence

caspian sunset

Hopefully, we ship out of Baku tomorrow (Friday, 20 July) and float uneventfully across the Caspian Sea to arrive in Turkmenbashi the following morning for a 10-day peek at Turkmenistan. Given the nature of things there, access to internet is unlikely.In case we are lucky enough to successfully connect during our stay, we promise to publish something. … [Read more...]