The desert in all it's changing glory. Different colours, different patterns, sometimes very flat but at times in high hills. Hand placed nets of reeds along the roads to try and hold the sand in place.
The desert plants with beautiful tiny flowers if you looked carefully. The carefully tended plants where people were trying to make them grow.
Camels everywhere, apparently belonging to somebody but seeming to be their own camel. Sheep and shepherds where there was a bit of water. Insects and lizards.
Waiting by our truck on the side of the road and watching the little girls in their long traditional dresses and flip flops or bare feet running and playing. They were the first to come and check us out, then brought their little brothers and then their mums. Smiles the universal language.
Stopping for lunch on a concrete sidewalk in a small town and having the lady from the house on the corner invite us to use her toilet. Ok it was basic, but it was the best available. Smiles all around. Then discovering we were eating our lunch on another family's front yard when another lady opened her door to discover 19 people and a big truck on her step. She smiled, went past and then came back. Then she opened her door to show us her children (or show us to her children). More smiles and waves.
Playing tag with a British couple in their overland vehicle. Finally stopping for an hour or so on the road while our guys helped them make emergency repairs. Numerous chats about roads, border points, vehicles, where you've been and where to next. Spirit of overlanding.
The Darvaza gas crater. It was a fun evening and a wild 4X4 ride there and back. Interesting picture opportunities.
Finding a fabric shop in our brief bit of freedom and negotiating for 1/4 meter (not 25 meters!) of the perfect desert fabric for Turkmenistan's square on my travel quilt.
You can choose to get caught up in politics and bureaucracy or you can remember the important things. Just my thoughts.