Last September, Berdimuhamedov swapped his black state limousine for a white one, then insisted that 160 important government and media officials do the same. He didn't decree that the public needed to do the same, but so far in January a couple of private Turkmen importers say that they can't get their black cars inspected or cleared, and the vehicle inspection service in the capital Ashgabat won't look at black cars.
One of the importers said a customs official told him, "You should buy white cars as white color brings luck." And by "luck," they mean, 'The President for Life likes white now. So there.' Cars aren't the only possessions game for whitewashing: the country has spent more than $10 billion turning Ashgabat into 'The City of White Marble,' covering old buildings and erecting new ones in the colorless stone; it is in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the greatest number of white marble buildings in the world, and it has this totally amazing telephone booth.