Day 273: I’m not as stupid as you

more bling bling in ashgabat (see the police standing in the left corner?)

Having had little trouble with the police here, I concluded they actually don’t bother tourists so much. Wrong. As I walked alone to find a washroom, I was stopped by a stupid cop. Had no idea what he was talking about, so explained I was a tourist. Asked for my passport so I showed him. He had no idea what he was looking at or what to look for. So he dispatched his nearby backup to come over.

Stupid #1 explained I was a tourist to Stupid #2. Stupid #2 didn’t look too friendly, gauging me from head to toe. Again had no idea what he was talking about but figured he was telling me I was not supposed to walk on my own and wanted to take me back to the police station. I could tell he was on the take. Yep, within a minute he took out a slip of paper and scribbled “50$”.

What? You’re looking for a $50 bribe? Do I really look that dumb? Fuck off.

Perhaps an empty parliament building?

I continued speaking in English and said I have no idea what he was talking about, I have no money and it is all in the hotel. He eventually gave up and handed my passport back.

I’m starting to wonder what sort of education people receive in this closed off country brainwashed by the current and former president. Yesterday when buying train tickets, it took 2 people to issue tickets and a full minute to calculate simple maths (100 minus 21) for the right change to return us. When I told them they were 1 short (they returned 78 instead of 79), they took another minute to calculate and verify with a calculator. Is it really that hard?

The “Walk of Health” – a 38km path built outside Ashgabat by the former president.
Guess he had never heard of hiking trails which could be just a little cheaper…

As I walked back to meet KF and Dorus (our recent Dutch travel buddy) at the park, I tried to avoid the blue uniformed cops. It wasn’t easy, there was one on every fucking corner! Now I know why you don’t have to be smart for a job. There are enough street corners to ensure the capital’s employment rate stays high. This morning we watched 10 cleaners washing out a small fountain. Really, one is enough… but as we’ve come to learn, Ashgabat is a city of excess!

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2 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hmmmmm… Doesn't sound good… However… what's you general impression about this place?

    Greetings from Poland :)
    Maciek

  2. Leslie says:

    Well it's good that you guys are savvy travellers! Even in North America we have laziness and 1 working and 10 watching situations but in a place of excess, it's even more obvious! Anybody who has any smarts or preseverance probably doesn't live there anymore!

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