Day 18-Wed May8, 2019 Central Asia-Ashgabat

We drove to Nisa, today. It took almost forty-five minutes. There is no traffic here. It is a beautiful ghost town. It has the same feeling as Pyongnang except that this city is beautiful.

The streets and buildings are clean and modern. The only pedestrians out are the ever-present women sweeping and scrubbing the streets.

The buildings are all made of white marble. It reminds me of what the meeting of Disneyland and Las Vegas might be in appearance if it were to happen and become a city.

At night the city is lit up. There are fountains and small parks scattered through the city. They too, are lit at night along with all of the buildings. It is a very beautiful place.

The locals stay indoors, for the most part, until the heat of the sun is gone. Ashgabat is a town built for the government officials to work in. It was designed to make an impression, and it does.

Picture the Las Vegas strip empty and with little ladies out sweeping every few miles apart from each other. That is the appearance of Ashgabat.

It is the most beautiful modern styled city I have ever seen.

We have arrived at our destination in just under an hour. This is a special horse ranch. My family has a long history with horses and I am interested in them, though I do not ride.

My grandfather, Ernest Hand, raised Arabian horses and his cousin trained the worlds most intelligent horse. It was called Serrano, and performed at Knott’s Berry Farm. That family had a small ranch in Huntington Beach many years ago.

The horses were full of energy as they came out with their grooms and ran in circles at the end of the lung line. The are trained to rear up when a stick or whip is raised over the trainer’s head. They were never touched with the device.

We fed them sugar and petted some of them. One of our group even rode one. A brave lady, no doubt.

They are the Ahhal-Teke horses. Thy are said to be the oldest cultured breed of horses in the world. They are the forbearers of the Arabian and the quarter horse. They have small heads, large lungs, strong necks and slender legs.

They are know for their ability to run marathon distances, yes that distance, only to get a second wind after several miles into it.

They come in several colors and strangely, have no fat under their skin.

We then went to the Parthian Kingdom of Nisa. The snow covered Kopet Dag Mountain Range creates the border with Iran and looms just forty miles off in the distance. Iran is a country on our list that we wish to visit.

One couple in our group came from two weeks in Iran to join our three-week trip through the Stans.

This is a pleasant plateau where the royals built their secure home. It was safe in the mountains and is still visible as it is being restored.

Th mud plastered walls remind us of a lost civilization. We are fifteen miles out of Ashgabat here.

The Roman slaves who were captured in battle brought the technology of the Roman Arch here as they worked to build many structures. They are visible in these buildings here.

The Parthian Kingdom was here two-thousand years ago and spread out from Nisa.The succeeding dynasties remained important until the Mongols sacked them in the 13th Century.

I went for a nature break here as there are no facilities. It was a pleasant stroll out through the wild flowers and around a small hill for privacy. I did my thing and trekked up the steps and joined the group just in time to hear about all the cobras about.

I think there is a lesson to be learned here.

From here, we went to the Turkmenistan National Museum. The exhibits there show the history of Nisa and its Zoroastrian beliefs.

Fire was the center of the belief system.

There were also vey interesting exhibits of jewelry, pottery, carpets and tusks turned into drinking vessels for wine and adorned with jewels. These people loved their wine and harvested endless supplies of grapes to make it.

We are staying at the Oguzkent Hotel here until we leave. This is a very interesting place.

The story of the Arabian horse coming to America is an interesting one. I might have mentioned it here already on this blog. It involves a cartoonist and the president of the United States.