In my new book the former Turkmen leader Turkmenbashy isn’t a main character, but he’s very much a presence in the background of the story. I was in the country when he passed away (and I got to see his funeral procession which had a carriage holding his body pulled through the capital city of Ashgabat by a tank). I remember thinking that maybe things would change after he died. Maybe with Turkmenbashy and his nuttiness out of the way Turkmenistan would stop being such a crazy place. Maybe they would stop trying to build a river in Ashgabat (which is in the middle of the desert). Maybe there would even be a revolution.
But that didn’t happen. Things just went on as usual. The next President (Turkmenbashy had been president for life) won the election with something like ninety percent of the vote. It was rumored that the new president was the bastard child of Turkmenbashy, but who knows if this was true.
But even without a revolution it felt like things were changing. I stopped seeing crazy stories from Turkmenistan in the strange news section of the paper. I even heard that all the portraits of Turkmenbashy were coming down.
Then last week I saw this. There are plans for a inland sea to be built in the center of the Karakum Desert which covers eighty percent of Turkmenistan.
The strangeness continues. Check my book and find out what it was like to live in a place like Turkmenistan. It’s being solicited now, so harass your local comic shop into ordering a couple of copies (and check out my blog too).
And, sadly, I can’t make it to San Diego this year. Hope everyone has a great time!