Going around Turkmenistan with a local girl.

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Nicoit
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Going around Turkmenistan with a local girl.

Postby Nicoit » Tue Dec 24, 2019 6:05 pm

Hello

I'm planning to go to Turkmenistan, I have a Turkmen a female friend who is living in Ashgabat alone.

She is not sure if it is ok to host me, she is still thinking about that.

Anyway reading this forum it seems that even going around the city with a girl is not a really good idea. This girl is 100% trusted but I'm not sure how much she is aware of the situation with foreigners in Turkmenistan. We are planning to stay 3 days around Ashgabat and to go together to Darvaza.

Can anyone provide me more information about the risks of going around with a local girl in Turkmenistan?

Do you think that in case it would be quite dangerous to be hosted?

Thanks
Last edited by Nicoit on Wed Jan 01, 2020 5:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Christian77
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Re: Going around Turkmenistan with a local girl.

Postby Christian77 » Tue Dec 24, 2019 7:26 pm

What's her ethnicity? If she's ethnic Russian then she can do as she pleases. If she's ethnic Turkmen or another Muslim ethnicity, then your arrival at her home could destroy her reputation in front of her neighbors. The fact that she lives alone tells me that she's not a regular Turkmen woman, and probably more secular and less traditional. But it can still be a problem. If she lives in a flat, her domkom (imagine landlord + KGB all in one) may investigate her as being a suspected prostitute. If she lives in a mahalla, then the wrath of a thousand grandmothers will descend upon her.

As for traveling with her, I find that city-dwellers are often very ignorant of local culture outside the city in their own country. Expect hotels to expect you to be booking two separate rooms, or maybe even refusing to give you two a single room. Mixed couples have been asked for proof of marriage in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Expect judgment from drivers and other nosy members of the public. Locals may consider her a prostitute.

If you want to pass her off as a guide/translator, local police may ask her for some documents showing that she has permission to be a guide. So even Ashgabat could be a problem. But I'm far from certain on this point.

As for being in public with a local woman, I've gotten the occasional stare of death from young local men in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan for walking down the street with a local woman (of their ethnicity). The younger and more attractive the girl, the harsher the death stare. It only came down to violence once, but I've heard far worse stories (almost always involving Bishkek).

Having a Central Asian wife is OK. Having a Central Asian girlfriend can be rough. Especially for her. But again, if she's Russian or some other obvious non-Muslim ethnicity, then all should be OK.

Final warning: local women can be sizing you up as a marriage prospect. Maybe not in the Tinder scene in Bishkek, Tashkent and Almaty, but in many other contexts she may be not thinking "hanging out with this guy could be fun," but rather "will he marry me and take me to Europe?"

These are most worst case scenarios. Usually you just get ignored when with a local woman, especially in the city. Your experience may vary.
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steven
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Re: Going around Turkmenistan with a local girl.

Postby steven » Wed Dec 25, 2019 5:25 am

From https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advic ... nd-customs

There remain sensitivities around relationships between foreign men and local women, and the Turkmen authorities are known to take action against both. For foreign nationals this can result in a fine and deportation from the country.
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Re: Going around Turkmenistan with a local girl.

Postby trikolka » Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:23 am

I may be wrong if it changed since 2017, but as far as I know, turkmen citizens must get a permission for hosting foreigners. Otherwise, foreigners have to stay in accredited hotels, or camp in their tent or van.
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Re: Going around Turkmenistan with a local girl.

Postby Nicoit » Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:15 am

Just for the record, everything went fine, but yes, the situation is really sensitive.
We avoided to talk each other in crowded places, we avoided to talk the in bus, for example, we were going at the restaurant like 15.00 to be sure that it was empty, they complained a bit only when we went to the national museum, they were saying that we cannot enter together, but at the end, they allowed us (and they stared at us really bad for all the time inside).

Turkmenistan is such a crazy place with a crazy society, really worth to be seen
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