Day 136 – Turkmenbasi and the Caspian Sea

5th December


On the train to Turkmenbasi, Turkmenistan / トルクメンバシ行きの列車にて(トルクメニスタン) 

The Caspian Sea is a deep aqua blue, at least here in Turkmenbasi. Turkmenbasi itself feels like the end of the world. Old Soviet apartments with small wooden framed windows. None seem to have been constructed as if there was a sea to look out on. No bay windows with a view of the sea in this town.

Now it just so happens that the Caspian Sea ferry is not a regular service. That is, it is entirely possible to have to wait three or more days for a ferry to arrive.

However, by some great divine intervention – I prefer to consider it due to my great foresight and planning – there was not only one ferry today, but two. I was in the enviable position of being able to choose which I would travel on. Not that there was much difference. They were both the same black and white, and were identical in shape.


One of the Caspian Sea ferries, Turkmenistan / カスピ海のフェリーのひとつ(トルクメニスタン)

I chose the ‘Azerbaijan’. Here is a run down of costs:

Payable at the terminal:
Ticket – US$45
Bicycle fee – US$5
Documentation fee – US$12

To be paid on the boat:
Bicycle fee – US$5 (yes, again)
Bicycle security fee – US$3
Cabin fee – US$10

Total: US$80

The money you pay for a bed (cabin fee) is negotiable. The steward first started at US$50. This was for my own room with shower and toilet. I said he has to be joking (it was in very bad condition), and that I would be perfectly happy to sleep on the floor of the seating room.

Hearing this, he quickly dropped to US$25. I said no way, but if they would consider US$10, then I would take it.

It seems that US$10 for a bed is standard – some other Turkmenistan citizens on the boat said that they also paid US$10.

All payments are made in US dollars only, including the payments at the terminal. It is a wise idea to have lots ot small denomination US dollars – change is not always available.

Meals on board are catastrophically expensive unless you are willing to haggle lots. I didn’t end up eating at the kafe on board since I had my own food, but I was quoted US$10 for fried potatoes and eggs. After saying that it was too expensive and that I would eat my own food, the price dropped to US$5.

The Caspian Sea on the Turkmenistan side is beautiful (photo taken on the 'Azerbaijan' ferry / トルクメニスタン側のカスピ海はとてもきれい

I got onto the boat at 4pm, but the boat still hadn’t left the dock when I went to bed at 9pm.

2 Comments:

  1. Hey, Rob you are not alone. I am still following your trip. I got behind for a while, but just catching up this morning.

    Regards

    Cornell in Canada

  2. Cornell, good to hear from you. I'm still trying to devise a plan to get myself over to Canada without flying once I arrive in England, so hang in there, I may be coming to stay…

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