Let this serve as an introduction to the next post. Arslan Levantinov of the Uzbekistani tourist bureau was given the assignment to make of the Aral disaster a tourist attraction. As he lives in Tashkent, of course, this seems to be a sign of the discontent of his superiors, but that may be an anachronistic Soviet era cryptological impulse of my own. The fact is, however, that I know that Mr. Levantinov has a great fear of travel and it is quite unlikely that he had the least desire to take on this project. What he fears more than travel, however, is getting burned–and a man in Tashkent certainly risks getting burned, at least by the son, at some point during the long journey to the Uzbeki wastes that were once the Aral sea. Yet he pulled off a masterpiece of travel bureau writing. The likelihood that he did so without leaving his apartment in Tashkent is neither here nor there, especially if there is Karakalpakstan, particularly the once coastal city of ‘Muynak’ (pardon my Cyrillophobia).