Friday, September 09, 2011

democracy, or something close to it

According the Democracy Index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, I have been living in some rather interesting places for the last year-and-a-half. Congo (non-DRC one), Gabon, and Turkmenistan are not exactly on par with Norway, but hey, only one country can be first.

There is a cement factory opening in the Balkan province (which is the region of the country that Balkanabat is in). That, along with other official business, is apparently bringing the President through town in the next week or two. One of my colleagues told me that the city is rounding up stray cats and dogs (and presumably killing them) because of a request that no animals run across the road in front of the Presidential motorcade. I can see how that can be viewed as a security measure, albeit rather far-fetched. However, it might also be for cosmetic reasons. That same colleague told me that he has to change some windows in his house since it faces the main road and that all houses and apartments that face the main road need to have the same type of window installed before the President arrives.

The President is up for re-election in February of next year. If my work schedule stays more or less the same, it looks like I will be in the country when the it occurs on Feb 12, 2012.


Buickguy said...

Surely you'll be standing at the curb, waving eagerly as the President rolls by. I hope a stray cat doesn't pop out of the shadows just then.

Brian said...

Perhaps you say that in jest, but a couple months ago the President visited Turkmenbashy, a port city on the Caspian where PETRONAS bases their operations from so we also have some equipment there. As part of the visit, we were required to send a busload of employees up there (2 hour drive) in their coveralls the day before so they could be out on the streets waving Turkmen flags first thing in the morning as the President drove by.