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We were only supposed to stay in Turkestan for a few hours, 2 or 3 at most, while taking pictures of the Khoja Ahmed Yasavi Mausoleum, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was evening, I wanted to enjoy the light. Then it had to be a restaurant and then leave for the steppe to find a place to pitch the tent… that was the plan. But when travelling, a plan rarely works. So Luc and I were by the station looking for the damn Mausoleum. Several people tried in vain to help us… but still this damned language barrier… suddenly a young woman (charming and charming is it necessary to specify it?) addressed me in perfect English. Her name is Rushan and she is accompanied by her husband. She is an English teacher (this explains this). She explains the direction and we say goodbye not without a business card exchange. An ephemeral encounter like there are so many of them on a trip.

But that was without counting the fact that Utopia decided otherwise. Tired of the road maybe? Or is it a joke? I don’t know, but 200 m later she freaks out on me (clutch, the 3rd one in 3 months!) and I stay like a jerk on the sidewalk.

In these cases, you have to deal with the most urgent thing: eating! Luc by on reconnaissance and spotted a kind of restaurant 100 meters away. Utopia agrees to go and I park it in front of a kind of small mini-market.

Once you’ve eaten, the second priority comes: sleep. I spot a garden 20 meters from the mini-market. Maybe the owners will accept that I pitch the tent there?… well, no… no way. I have to decide to accept their invitation to sleep over. Life is complicated, I assure you.

In short, the two hours are transformed into 5 days in Turkestan during which we have (among other things):

  • Produced a short commercial for the Rushan language school
  • given French lessons to children in the same school,
  • Taken a Russian course amidst laughter (well, we laughed more than we talked about Russian)
  • met with a young French couple who will continue the trip with us for a few days and sleep in an improvised tent between the 4X4 and Utopia.
  • Scanned the bazaars for clutch cables, shoes, etc.
  • Taken a Hamman/Sauna at 11pm in the evening after a family dinner.


In short, nothing goes as planned as usual but only good past moments, and especially, especially… we have made new friends… that I hope to see again soon in France. Thank you Farruh and Rushan




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