Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
- Contrasts -
We entered Turkmenistan on the 1st of July. So we are gone for 2 months of discovery of countries in "Stan". We start with Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. And what strikes us when arriving here are the contrasts.
Contrasts, within these countries, when it comes to urban planning (professional deformation!). We furrowed, amazed, the boulevards of the Turkmen capital, lined with marble buildings and statutes of the golden dictator, creased the tires of our Iveco on the impeccable bitumen, before attacking one of the few roads rallying Ashgabat to the other cities of the country of a deplorable state! Here, we do not speak of pothole but of ostrich nest so much the holes in the bitumen are imposing!
Another striking contrast in Uzbekistan, where the main roads of the country gave us a hard time while the high speed train that we took between Samarkand and Bukhara, trendy, would have made tears of jealousy SNCF!
Time contrast, then, when we visited cities of the once flourishing Silk Road, like Kounia-Urgench in Turkmenistan, which today only keep some vestiges to testify to this past splendor.
Finally, we were amazed by the contrasts of Nature. Just take a look at the satellite views of these two countries to realize that they are covered three quarters of desert. And yet, in every city and village, vegetation grows that borders that of the tropics!
Like an emergency operation, here we bleed the Amu Darya, the great river that rises in Tajikistan and flows into the Aral Sea, to overflow the roundabouts of Samarkand. This excessive use of water, exemplified by the intensive cultivation of cotton in the desert, imposed by the communist regime and still going on today, is the reason for the drying up of the Aral Sea, considered a the biggest ecological disasters of our time.
This sad fact makes us aware of how lucky we are in France to have such a vital resource so easily. Yet nothing is simple. When we open the tap, we tend to forget that this water has undergone so many transformations from its source to our sink and it will suffer as much at the exit!
Water, this precious resource! This was one of the points discussed in our first video! If you have not seen it yet, click on this link:
Another contrast is waiting for us at the end of July and August. We leave two months of desert to reach the mountains of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan!