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 :-)