The fireworks, in the picture to the left, are in celebration of the opening of the newest tourist destination on the planet -- Avaza. The 5 billion dollar project bills itself as the next Las Vegas, a must visit destination for the discerning, upscale tourist.
As you plan your next vacation you no doubt wonder, could this be true or is it all hype? Well, the fellow in the picture is President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov, successor to the dearly departed Turkmenbashi as the ruler of Turkmenistan.
That fact alone should probably be enough to tip the scales solidly into the hype over truth department.
Yes, this is but the latest monstrous building scheme to be cooked up by the leadership of Turkmenistan. It boast of having luxurious hotels, seaside villas, casinos, an artificial island, a ski center and a children's area. However, during its opening ceremonies the hotels were decorated with huge portraits of President Berdymukhamedov, and there was a giant TV displaying his mug, so I wonder about the ambiance of the place. I know nothing speaks luxury to me quite as much as gigantic propaganda posters. I wonder if it has a copy of the Ruhnama in every night stand?
You can read about it here.