Good Clean Fun in Turkmenistan

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.’

CS&W’s Graceless and Rude National Character Survey

Time to raise some ire. Based on strictly personal experience, here are some stereotypes that are sure to offend. All in good, clean fun. I think I’ll add more as they occur to me. Feel free to irritate your own chosen ethnicity in the comments.

NATIONAL CHARACTER

Finland: Stubborn. Not malevolent.

Germany: No excuse for the disappointment that is their food.

India: Does luxury well. Wealth disparity allows this. High end more affordable for tourists than elsewhere.

New Zealand: Permanent slightly perplexed look. Sunburnt. Buggy eyes.

Pacific Islands: Collective motto: “Don’t hurt me please.” The ukelele and all its music is the cause of this.

Paraguay: Important only to Paraguayans. Who are sweet and all, sure. Still.

Scotland: Paternal. Strong men will take care of you. Like it or not. Ireland has some of this.

Thailand: The world’s consistently strangest names. Like Kejmanee Pichaironnarongsongkram. Except possibly

Turkmenistan, whose leader is Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow.

Turkey: Tirelessly gracious but with a useless language shared by no one but Central Asians. In Turkish, as often as not the “G” goes away. “Erdogan” is pronounced “erdo-an.” A “C” with a cedille, “ç,” is pronounced “dj” like George. Çiragon is “Jiron.”

USA: Groupthink. If you want, you can really think things through and work out what you think. But you have to do more than ‘like’ things on Facebook. Why bother? Your tribe’s news channel can think everything through and tell you.

Vietnam: Wiry. Persistent. Shake hands with tight grip. Prim. Barefoot.

No, You May Not Visit Turkmenistan

TurkmenistanFlag

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.

Next time.