We were cautious about the route from Zahmet onwards. Along the way, we were repeatedly told that there were only few villages and water was scarce for this 150km desert stretch of road until the northernmost city, Turkmenabat.
(Turkmenistan … 09.01.05 to 10.02.05)
Akmurat pouring abit of his homemade spirit for our sampling. According to him, it was 60% alcohol content. Just a sip and we were flushing red cheeks. The family grows grapes in their house. In his house, we were surprised that the whole Zahmet village had no gas supply. It was our 1st time in a village with totally no gas supply. Natural gas is abundant in Turkmenistan and almost free (they pay around US$1~2/year) so it puzzled us that Zahmet did not have gas.
Just barely 12km out of Zahmet, we came to this desert work site. It would be a good opportunity to gather more information about our later route from the workers.
Enjoying a cup of hot tea with the workers at the desert site.
Workers welding a pipe. We learnt that the men were actually connecting a 40km gas pipe from Ravnina to Zahmet, the village we had stayed the previous night!
TurkmenGaz, Turkmenistan national gas company.
The bride in traditional bridal costume and the groom, a colleague of the TurkmenGaz workers. Coincidentally, the wedding of their colleague was in that evening so the foreman invited us to tag along with them. And so we travelled 1-1/2hrs in their bus, spent 1-1/2hrs of sumptuous dinner and dancing and eventually returned to their quarters by 10pm.
The colourful neon lighting decoration typical of every wedding stage where the band and MC would be.
Our new friends from TurkmenGaz. Thumbs up to these guys who have to brave strong cold winds working in the desert!