President Donald Trump from today’s Oval Office remarks with Nursultan Nazarbayev, the President of Kazakhstan. This quote begins on this YouTube clip at 3:53:
Our country is doing very well. Economically we’ve never had anything like it. I don’t believe we’ve ever been in a position and the president was so, saying we’ve never been in a position like we have.
No. Guess not.
Kazakhstan is changing its alphabet. From DuoLingo, here is an example of the old script compared to the new:
Cyrillic: Барлық адамдар тумысынан азат және қадір-қасиеті мен кұқықтары тең болып дүниеге келеді. Адамдарға ақыл-парасат, ар-ождан берілген, сондықтан олар бір-бірімен туыстық, бауырмалдық қарым-қатынас жасаулары тиіс.
New Latin: Barlyq adamdar ty’mysynan azat ja’ne qadir-qasi’yeti men kuqyqtary ten’ bolyp du’ni’ege keledi. Adamdarg’a aqyl-parasat, ar-ojdan berilgen, sondyqtan olar bir-birimen ty’ystyq, bay’yrmaldyq qarym-qatynas jasay’lary ti’is.
The Republic of Kazakhstan (Қазақстан Республикасы) will become Qazaqstan Respy’bli’kasy. Clear as a bell.
I put up this chart of the new Latinized script last November, in a post called Apostrophe Catastrophe. Now, a few months on, reviews of “the fulfillment of the dreams of our ancestors,” according to President Nazarbayev, are starting to come in. Here’s what people are saying.
There is an outstanding photo feature about the commercial monster China is building itself into with its
OBOR “Belt and Road Initiative” here, at The New Yorker’s website just now. This photo is a screen grab from the article. You get a few free articles a month without being a subscriber, so you can check it out.
Here is a fun blog. It’s two British guys with stories about their adventures driving around Central Asia. Most recently they’re in Mongolia. Check them out.
… on some of the strange Architecture in the ‘Stans here, in the Guardian.
My friend Bob has just made me aware of some fabulous 4×5 Kodachrome historical photos on the blog of Pavel Kosenko. Check out the people of the Russian hinterlands. And American World War Two photos. Great stuff. Kudos Pavel.
We're hitting the road again soon, for Turkey and Ukraine, and there is just enough time for a quick fly-in fly-out to somewhere else, so we made a bid to visit our first "'Stan."
We'll arrive at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul late in the evening, and Turkish Airlines' flight schedule works out great. It would allow us to keep pushing east. Just a brief layover in the raved-about new Turkish lounge, and off we'd go to Ashgabat.
Alas, it was not to be.
The Turkmen government requires a letter of invitation (loi) in order to grant a tourist visa. They're available through travel services (Uncornered Market blog does a good job describing how to get an loi), and we applied through a friendly, helpful service in Ashgabat.
We didn't invest much of our hearts in our quick little prospective visit, and it's just as well, because Turkmenistan didn't invite us, at least on the dates we could visit. This morning brought an email from our man in Ashgabat:
"Please, be informed, the Migration Service of Turkmenstan
has announced some limitations on issuing LOIs (for tourist visas) for the
period between March 11 till March 25. Now, we must shift the dates of
your travel to Ashgabat before March 11 or after March 25.
Please, advise if it is possible for you to travel to
Turkmenistan during the period of March 9 till March 11?"
March 9 till March 11 isn't going to work. Most places you get to choose your own dates to visit. Of course, this makes me want to visit more.