In steppe: My turn of the century travels in Central Asia

In steppe: My turn of the century travels in Central Asia
Flashback to 2002: a market in the Turkmen town of Cheleken, on the Caspian Sea. (Image: Greg Hurrell)
Greg Hurrell
Battered Lada taxis milled about as I at long last emerged from Ashgabat airport in the early morning darkness. Tired after a night flight from Abu Dhabi, followed by the triplicate Customs forms, I counted myself lucky not to be shaken down for a bribe.I looked about for the driver. Declining other offers, I spotted him standing by a BMW, holding a sign with my name on it. Good.I had arrived in the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan. That day, I was heading west to the Caspian Sea.It was a trip I made four times in 2001 and 2002. My w...

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