For sophisticates like myself living 13 hours ahead of the lagging West Coasters, the New Year has already arrived. In fact, it arrived nearly 12 hours ago to great and glorious fanfare for the neutral nation of Turkmenistan. And we were playing Mario Kart Wii when it happened. It was as awesome as you think it sounds.
Interestingly enough, yesterday was a holiday in Turkmenistan. Well, sort of. By decree from the great and glorious neutral leader of Turkmenistan, they did a bit of horse-trading for the days. Basically, Saturday was a "normal" working day and Monday become part of the weekend in its place. So people with "normal" jobs had Sunday (as is typical), Monday (traded for Saturday), and today (New Year) off. Strange and magical indeed. Of course, the business I'm in does not take days off. In fact, Sunday was a ridiculous mash up of semi-panicked activity to get a few things out the door. In the end, it's yet another day off added to the already absurdly long list of public holidays in Turkmenistan.
Of course, since you are reading this, you are literate. It also means I'm back after a four week hiatus. I'm not sure where I have been. It was dark and a bit stuffy, so perhaps a broom closet or stuck under a large tea cozy, but I'm free once again. Free to post intermittent and irregular updates and also free to travel back Stateside on Friday. Eight weeks in this time and it is time to start taking some of my accrued days off. I have a few small items for myself, but do wish to share with people when I get back. The most novel one is the English-language Turkmen newspaper I snagged while I stayed in a hotel in Ashgabat earlier in my rotation. (Why was I in a hotel and not a staff house? The staff houses were full since several people were in town. Why was I in Ashgabat? Business totally and in no way related to activities of the CIA. Yes, that sounds right.)
I'm not sure what the game plan is while I am in the U.S. There are some nebulous plans to visit a guy from work who lives out in South Carolina. Perhaps a swing through my storage place and then a drive back across the Southwest with a stop in Los Angeles. It's all quite wonderfully vague. And something about furniture moving.