I confess to having been been remiss in keeping folks abreast of the latest news of grandiose and completely crazy engineering projects moving forward in Turkmenistan.
For example, I never posted about the opening ceremony for the Golden Age Lake that happened last year. This is a scheme left over from the Turkmenbashi (may he rest in peace). This project involves digging hundreds of miles of canals to channel water to the Karashor Depression.
The purpose of all this is to create a 750 square mile lake in the middle of the desert. I'm not sure, but it may have something to do with the late Turkmenbashia's rather odd notion to start cultivating rice in the deserts of Turkmenistan.
Meanwhile his successor, Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov, is apparently quite the sports enthusiast. That's him on the horse. He's come up with the idea to blow gobs of money building a gigantic sports complex in Turkmanistan.
The suspicion is that he is building it so he can bid on hosting the Olympics. This in spite of the fact that Turkmenistan has never won an Olympic medal. My favorite bit from the article:
Since coming to power, Berdymukhamedov has earnestly cast himself as a man of action, striking a stark contrast with his epicurean predecessor, President Saparmurat Niyazov (ed - a.k.a. the Turkmenbashi), who died of heart failure in late 2006 at the age of 66.
Niyazov did sporadically attempt to instill his subjects with an understanding of the benefits of exercise. His most eye-catching practice was to lead his ministers and government workers on an annual 8-kilometer trek up the Walk of Health, a concrete staircase built into the hills overlooking the capital, Ashgabat.
But while officials trudged up the hill, rotund Niyazov reputedly took a helicopter ride to the summit, thereby undermining the entire purpose of the exercise.