Our guide, Bava, told us that in honor of a local holiday - the Holiday of the Turkmen Bakhshi - there was horse racing at the Hippodrome and would we like to go. We would miss the livestock sale at Tolkuchka Bazaar but it might be interesting. It was unique. Local lads and lasses were decked out in national costume, children were painting illustrations of the Ruhnama, (the month of September in Turkmenistan is called Ruhnama), young boys performed martial arts, (a very noticeable thing throughout Central Asia is the number of young men who have their right hand and wrist bandaged up, martial arts, wrestling and boxing being very popular sports here), while portraits of the president watching over his flock studded the grounds of the Hippodrome including the racetrack, and the colorful Turkmen flag fluttered around the perimeter.
The Turkmen flag; a green background representing the color of Islam, (green is the color of paradise), the white crescent moon and five stars of Islam as well as five gul patterns representing the five provinces of the country.