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Saturday, April 30, 2005


WAZ vs. Neva

When you're out in the Middle of the Desert, you need a tough vehicle, maybe even two.

Nothing is tougher than the Russian-made WAZ jeep. It's completely stripped of luxuries that could break, like windows that roll down. Like my Neva, it's got a choke.

A very sophisticated dashboard

Our baby-blue WAZ climbed trackless sand dunes with considerable aplomb and hardly even creaked when landing back on the road after being launched airborne by a pothole. While it's true that the passenger seat became unwelded from its base after 3 days of lurching and bumping and crashing on desert tracks, that sort of thing is easily repaired once you get back to civilization.

Where there is no road

For a lot of our exploring, we had two WAZs with us in case one went down. One characteristic that sometimes distinguishes the middle of the desert from its edges is the complete absence of anyone or anything that might be able to assist you when your car dies or gets stuck. It's best to bring two WAZs, just in case.

Stuck in a dune

While our driver/guide had considerable respect for a good Neva, he was a firm WAZ advocate for desert adventures in Turkmenistan.

Sometimes even a WAZ has to stop at the mechanic's

What? You went to Turkmenistan and came back WITHOUT a Ruhnama mug? Shame on you. =)

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