South Korea! What everyone knows about South Korea (or correctly called The Republic of Korea) is its caustic neighbor, North Korea. As it turns out, South Korea is a modern and well developed country ranked 22nd in the Human Development Index, the highest in East Asia. In terms of average wage, it has Asia’s highest and the world’s 10th highest income. It is the world’s most research-and-development intensive country and the most innovative as measured by the Bloomberg Innovation Quotient. South Korea is the world’s fifth largest exporter, driven by high-tech multinationals such as Samsung, Hyundai-Kia and LG. A highly advanced information society, South Korea has the world’s fastest Internet connection speed! What’s not to like about that?
Read more of Gary and Monica Wescott’s overland adventures through South Korea in November and December 2014:
Mongolia!! The name of this landlocked Asian country has a magical ring to it. We could not think of Mongolia without our minds drifting on the image of the legendary Genghis Khan. Born in the 1160s, he spent his early life assembling a dedicated army of nomads from the immense grasslands of the Gobi, at 500,000 square miles, the fifth largest desert in the world. His fierce warriors were relentless. They could ride day and night, making a slice in their horses’ neck to drink the blood. By 1279 Mongols had gained full control of all of China, undeterred by the Great Wall. See how well walls work?
Read more of Gary and Monica Wescott’s overland adventures through Mongolia in October 2014
Follow Gary and Monika Wescott as they travel through China in August and September 2014 on the quest to drive from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, across all of Eurasia, following the Silk Road.
The following are links to their blog about this journey.
Follow Gary and Monika Wescott as they travel in Tajikistan in July 2014 along the Silk Road on their quest to reach the Pacific Ocean.
The Tunnel of Death, Tajikistan
Visibility reduced almost to zero thanks to large sections with no lighting. Useless headlights which fail to penetrate the fumes. Carbon monoxide accumulation which has already claimed the lives of people delayed in the tunnel. All vehicles must have windows up and airflow on recycle. Potholes which seriously challenged ex-military trucks in permanent 4WD. Exposed reinforcing bars in the remaining concrete road surface had punctured the tires of 2 trucks whose drivers were changing them in the tunnel. Along the length of a mid-tunnel section there are holes as deep as 1.5 meters which are full of water. No roadworks signs and no traffic controls in this single-lane section or anywhere else.
Follow Gary and Monika Wescott as they drive through Turkmenistan on their quest for the Pacific Ocean via the Silk Road in 2014.
The Door to Hell
Okay, we were now driving in Turkmenistan. Oh Boy! It had been a long night and a long frustrating day. Since our five-day transit visa had already expired we were essentially driving in the country illegally. We knew that fuel in Turkmenistan was a dollar a gallon. Even though we had to pay $100 fuel surcharge, we had arrived with empty tanks. After a quick drive around town to change money we found the only gas station had run out of diesel. Thinking there must be other stations outside of town, we headed for Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, some 324 miles away.