I knew I'd been here two long when Ellen (from GARP and Istanbul Pt1) returned to the Big Apple. She had managed to tour vast amounts of Turkey in the time it took me to return to “the office”. At this time I also met Kaia and Anthony (fellow Brisbanians on a European tour). A few more mellow nights with beer on the roof terrace and in the local bars.
I used these days to do some research about my route. I had always wanted to wait until Iran said “yes” until I look any further ahead. I realise now that more pre-organisation is required, or atleast research. I don't think this is the case the world throughout, but it seems to be so for Central Asia. Having been given the all clear I was then fully able to worry about how I'm going to deal with the nasty winter. Kyrgyzstan has recorded winter temperatures of -35 Celsius. My current sleeping bag is rated at +2 to +20 (comfort range). No calculations were necessary for me to deduce that this equals a “dead Jimmy”. Thus I decided to re-evaluate my plans and kit list.
I expect my fellow hostellers were pissed off with my “I don't know where to go” sulky whinings which were frequent during this period. It continued so for some days as I sat tucked behind my laptop trying to get my head around the visa/climate/boarder minefield that is “The Stans”
I finally got to some sort of a plan...I think. Though things have changed a little – here goes:
I now intend to enter Iran as late as my visa will allow (15th Jan). Making friends with the snowflakes along the way. I will attempt to extend my visa once there so that I can do some sightseeing, rather than just blitz through the whole country.
From there I hope to get a transit visa for Turkmenistan – actually I'd like a longer stay, but they appear to be miserable fuckers and so all I'm likely to get is a 5-7 day transit visa. Even this is only possible if Uzbekistan grant me a tourist visa (which I am applying for here in Istanbul). 5-7 days is probably not enough to cross the country, given the state of the roads, but I'll worry about that when I'm there.
Then from Uzbekistan, depending on boarders/snow, I'll either go to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan and onward to China. Then if China will “play ball” regarding visas, I'll follow the Great Wall East. From there, who knows...Helluva way to go until I'm there, so I'll worry about it then.
India, it seems, shall elude me on this particular adventure. It may have seemed to many as if India was the focus for this trip, perhaps at some point this was the case. Though for quite some time I've had the growing sensation that the destination is, well, irrelevant. And if I'm moving somewhere, anywhere, I'm happy. So (true to the blog title) I really do have No Particular Place To Go.