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Great akm 2010-03-09 22:52

Congratulations Hendrik on getting to visit a remote community and to interact with these most interesting and impressive old men. I'd love to hear more about how you managed to do so. Congratulations also on the quality of your portrait, capturing intelligence, intensity, dignity and lack of self-consciousness.
Best regards,

Old 03-10-2010, 10:46 PM
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Clipper Clipper is offline
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Default To akm: Thanks

Managing to get there - and being able to stay - and talk to people - took me 13 months of continuous work on the visa front. 13 months means between visa application and the day I finally received my passport back - with the Turkmen visa inside. Talking more about the organization prozess could cause problems for some, so on that I can't say much, but I could sum it up: it was rather complicated.

In any case Turkmenistan is a truly beautiful country and receiving only the smallest trickle of international visitors, it's a wonderful country to experience mind-blowing hospitality - potentially at least, because the secret service (still called KGB) watches everything. And a foreigner in a small village is ... of course ... a spy. So being able to get closer to people and meet them in more private moments took a very long time - a long time in the first place to convince the KGB that I was no threat and a long time thenafter to convince the people that I was no threat. Also while being very very hospitable, visitors are of course nothing people are used to and in this environment they are naturally not that easy-going in the opening up process.
I loved the old men with their mutton-hats. I got one as well in the village :-)
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