Re: Smoking in Turkmenistan
Thanks for the comments everyone. Basically my trips are usually pretty boring in that I spend most of my time talking to politicos, engineers and bankers about projects that usually never go anywhere. Still, I use what time I can set aside to learn a bit and see something more then a hotel room which is cool.
One thing I like about the narghiles there is that they have tubing diameters that literally are 50% bigger then your typical KM or Syrian rig so the draw is effortless and the smoke is massive. The locals smoke rigs that are far less decorative then what you can buy in Europa or the U.S. but much heavier. I also notice that they don't use stainless steel or copper but brass for basically everything.
Smoking is obviously quite a social thing in Turkmenistan from what I could tell just about every home has a narghile although cigarettes are very popular for some reason I can't get.
Although the language is belongs to the Turkic group it is not the same as Turkish and in fact I doubt that a Turk could understand what they say.
As to a camera I don't have one anymore and while I could get one for cheap I I doubt that I could use it much on my trips. The problem is that I spend a lot of time meeting people that as a result of the nature of business I can't show them meeting with me as it may jeopardize on going contracts. Also, a lot of times I am at someone's home and i'd feel weird taking pictures.
When you go to a poor country like Turkmenistan it's a very good idea to bring gifts. Outside of the hoses and finger coals I mentioned I always bring a couple of boxes of canned foods which I give to the local Mosque, Church or Temple as the case maybe. It helps out a few people and it's good business practice as well.
The tombac comes pre-mixed with bright and dark leaves packed in a dried brick with the major stems already removed which is a little different then one typically buys tombac.
As to getting the local tobacco well, that is tough. I brought a couple of packets with me but as far as I know they don't export.