Modern and grandiose, Ashgabat was built for the people, or so the former President Niyazov declared. (He called himself ‘Turkmenbashi’, or ‘Head of all Turkmens’). But the streets are mostly empty.
It’s not an easy place to take the pictures you want. I joined a tour group, the only way to visit the country, and bumped into this traditional dance parade, celebrating the country and its revered president. The girl with braids and traditional dress carries a designer handbag and talks into her mobile phone.