After my relatively painless border crossing from Iran, I was pumped to finally start the next leg of my Silk Road journey, this time visiting Ancient Merv, located near one of Turkmenistan’s largest cities, Mary. Waiting for me right outside the border gates was Sergey*, my local tour guide. My first request to Sergey was to find me a bottle of Coke, stat! I have been bamboozled into imbibing Zam zam – Iran’s version of Coke – due to its suspiciously Coke-like packaging and, like its originator Pepsi, it wasn’t good enough for my discerning palate. I swear my
Visiting the Korean Demilitarize Zone may be safest way for people to find themselves between the soldiers of two warring countries as they will be in no danger of being trapped in any crossfire. Despite the tensions between North and South Korea, the two countries each operate their own tours to the border on their respective sides. Many people don’t realize that the Korean War has not yet officially ended and the North and South Korea are still technically at war. The Korean Armistice Agreement of 1953 only created the Korean Demilitarized Zone and put in place a
As a history enthusiast, I have always planned on visiting Turkmenistan to see Old Merv, the ancient Seljuk Turk capital and Acheamenid fortress which was formerly called Marghiana, and Konye Urgench, that seat of Achaemenid, then Turk, power and knowledge that rivaled Bukhara and Samarkand, and site of one of the bloodiest massacres in history, courtesy of Genghis Khan (of course). As a delighter in the absurd, Ashgabat, the country’s meticulously planned capital and listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the world’s most number of marble and gold buildings, also tickled my fancy. Back
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