Eurasianet reports that the government of Turkmenistan is inaugurating a new Amul-Khazar road race “that the government hopes will put the country on the international motor sports map.”
It quotes RFE/RL’s Turkmen service: “each of the country’s five regions, or viloyats, is being required to dispatch 7,000 spectators to convey the impression of a popular event.”
“‘According to the instructions, they should stand along the route of the rally and in their capacity as spectators, make a noise,” a correspondent on the ground told Radio Azatlyk.’
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.
This is Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. He is the President of Turkmenistan. He can play basketball, soccer, volleyball and ping pong.
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.