August 13, 2014

Takeaway food, Turkmenistan Style

About 20 km’s outside of Ashgabat is the Tolkucha Sunday market. This is the largest open air market in Central Asia.  It sprawls across the edge of the desert, and here you can buy and sell anything. The big days are still the weekends, particularly Sundays, when buyers and sellers pour in from all over Turkmenistan and Iran.

I saw cars, trucks, fire engines, statues, clothes, kitchenware and food during my visit. Carpets are popular, although most nowadays originate in China.  Huge tables of antiques are set up in one area. Some of the antique arrow-heads, coins and pottery might be fake, but most seem genuine. However, none can be officially exported, and the customs officials would delight in the opportunity to elicit a fine and confiscate your souvenir.

The livestock area was the best, where everything from chickens to camels could be purchased.  For about US$100 you could buy your own sheep and stick it in the boot, as many locals seemed to be doing. They are purchased barbequing later. A different kind of takeaway.

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