Into the Karakum Desert

After 3 days in the surreal Turkmen capital of Ashgabat we met our official government-approved tour guide and headed north into the Karakum Desert. A blazing hot void of ochre colour sand and small bushes.

The road into the desert. The city was neat and small without sprawling suburbs. We didn't see any signs of normality and didn't really figure out where all the people were. Anyway, before long we were in the emptiness of the desert.

After a few hours we reached a village and stopped to look at the camels there. Out guide explained to us that although the place looked kind of scruffy that was just a cultural thing. The people here chose to live like this and they certainly were not poor! Of course not! Because everything in Turkmenistan is wonderful thanks to their great leader Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov.

This is the first place that we saw yurts. You see the round structure on the left behind the camel. Thats a yurt. Its a kind of tent that people live in.

Our guide explains to us that the people here are so wealthy and so happy to be Turkmen.

Camels like the rubbish dump at the edge of the village.

We look out at the village in the burning hot desert heat from our spacious air-conditioned 4WD.

We continued north through the desert. Camels in the road.

After a few more hours we reached this massive crater in the ground. It is where there was an industrial drilling accident. They were drilling for natural gas and there was an explosion which created this huge hole. It is surprisingly cylindrical with a circular horizontal section and vertical walls. At the bottom it was filled with water and hydrocarbon gas was continually bubbling up through the water. You could see it, hear it and smell it.

We went up the road to another crater. It was a very big crater this time filled with bubbling mud.

The mud made an incredible noise.

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