8. You’re intrigued to find out what Soviet toilet paper is all about.
It’s like elastic sandpaper, and until you’ve experienced it, you probably can’t imagine it. It’s not thin and flimsy like some of our cheaper versions of toilet paper would be, in fact it’s quite the opposite. It’s more like folding up cardboard which has been mixed with gelatin. It might not be silky smooth and have pictures of flowers and butterflies on it, but it’s a lot more likely to land you the starring role in a haemorrhoid commercial.
7. You’ve never seen a Lada in real life before.
The iconic car of the Soviet Union; Russian design and manufacturing at its best. There’s something just sort of romantic about these beat-up box-shaped bombs. They lived though the Soviet Union, survived to tell the tale, and are now roaming the streets of all of Central Asia.
6. You like the sound of cheap beer and vodka, and locals who can handle drinking it.
It’s one thing to be able to buy cheap beer and vodka (like dirt cheap – $1 has you a litre of beer or 150ml of vodka in a bar, or four cans of beer or one bottle of vodka in a shop), but when it’s just you and the other tourists getting drunk together, it’s not quite as exciting. Here they drink like Russians though, and any local will drink you clean under the table, so you’re going to be in for a big (but still cheap) night.
5. You’re a die-hard Soviet-phile.
We come in all shapes and sizes – those now in their 50’s and 60’s who remember the days of the Soviet Union and still can’t believe that you can actually go behind the Iron Curtain; the younger crowd who are fascinated by an era that we’ll never know; history nerds who want the dates and names; disaster tourists who are looking for atrocities and catastrophes, but what we all have in common is that everything Soviet related is awesome.
4. Twenty five years ago you couldn’t visit Central Asia, and in another twenty five years it might not be that far off the beaten track.
Twenty five years ago the Soviet Union was in the process of collapsing and Central Asia was still out of bounds for us. Now as South East Asia gets more and more crowded with tourists, South America is becoming the new South East Asia for those who want something a bit more out of the way. This of course means that something will have to replace South America as it becomes packed full of on-the-beaten-track tourism, and it seems that that could be Central Asia. So get in quick, before Central Asia becomes the new South America.
3. You like to go to places most of your friends have never heard of.
Kyrzbekistan was recently invented by the New York Times, by accident, because they got the names confused. This happens to us all the time – Uzjikistan, Kazbekistan, Tajakhstan, Turkgyzstan, etc. Borat’s pretty much all that most of the world knows about Central Asia, and since his hometown was filmed in Romania, and Borat himself was played by an English guy of Jewish heritage, it really has nothing to do with anything.
2. You went to North Korea, loved it, and don’t know how you could ever come close to finding a travel destination to top it.
North Korea really is one of a kind, but so is Turkmenistan. There aren’t many places that are as unique as these countries, and once you’ve done both, well I don’t know how you could possibly ever top it. Maybe the moon?
1. The largest indoor ferris wheel, the largest man-made lake, the largest structure in the shape of a star, the largest solar furnace, the second largest flag pole, the biggest importer of Italian white marble, and the second largest canyon in the world all sound pretty interesting to you.
That’s just a few of the things. Call it an inferiority complex if you like, but Central Asia is very proud of having the largest this and the tallest that, and I promise you, you won’t stop hearing about them when you come here.