Joe and Azat starts with a taxi ride and it ends with a taxi ride. These two rides work as bookends for the story. One taxi takes you in, another takes you out. In reality it was a Lufthansa jet that brought me to Turkmenistan and another one that took me out, but I thought taxis were better.
Because I rode in so many damn taxis in Turkmenistan.
I rode in taxis across the entire country. I sat in the backseat of a taxi crammed in with two other people for nine hours. I had taxi drivers try and rip me off. I had taxi drivers who didn’t have licenses and would bribe there way through the frequent military checkpoints. I had one taxi driver who had to be the worst smelling man I have ever met. I had taxi drivers who refused to turn their lights on at night because they thought the lights would run down the battery. I had taxi drivers who insisted I not wear a seat belt, claiming they were good drivers despite the spider web of cracks on the passenger side of the windshield. I had one taxi driver who somehow had a dvd player and flat screen TV in his cab and only wanted to show me his massive collection of porn. One taxi driver wanted me to go to a prostitute with him, bragging that the prostitute was only eighteen and he was fifty-eight. I rode with fat old women. I rode with crying babies. I rode with hungover army men who repeatedly asked if I wanted to have sex with a goat and then quizzed me in Turkmen to see if I knew my colors. I rode in a taxi where the entire back seat was filled with frozen goat meat. I road with a taxi driver who insisted on playing the same song over and over and over again for two and a half hours. I rode in a lot of taxis.
And so my book begins and ends with a taxi ride.
It’s coming out next month. Check it out. Check out my blog as well.