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Where Do We Go Now? (snake dance) January 26, 2006

Posted by KG in FS Life, State.

Commenters, lurkers, enemies, friends, whosoever feels like commenting: I need your help.  I’ve been working hard at my final 2nd tour bid list and am close to being done, but I need input.  Take a minute to look at this (if you don’t get the gobbledygook after the first slash, don’t worry about it):


Done reading? Great.  Here is a summary of the issues.   

First, it is unlikely that I would get something below number 10 (hence their redaction from the list), most likely something in the top five.  And this list is numerically ranked by preference, making that top five incredibly difficult to order.  Tashkent is at the top because, well, it’s Tashkent.  In the middle of nowhere.  Isolated.  Totalitarian Post Soviet leadership in the middle of Central Asia, where I’ll be dining on shashlik and reporting on both Political and Econ issues — and a position where I will learn Russian and possibly Uzbek along the way.  But Yekaterinburg is quickly becoming the dark horse in this race, having leapt from number 8 to number 3 in just three hours.  There, I would be head of an entire section in a city once closed to the West, with the Russian as well.  The Consulate General in Yekat is teeny-tiny (hence my lowly self being head of a section) but that is in many ways appealing.  In terms of career, Yekat is appealing but Tashkent offers variety.

The social dimension complicates things significantly.  Do I want to use my Pakistan-earned bonus points to go somewhere remote, where I may once again not be able to be social?  Somewhere where everything I’ve read says “leave your notion of Western conveniences behind”?  Or do I want to use my points to go somewhere where I can be social, go out, and enjoy life?  If fun is the goal, it’s advantage Zagreb.

This is an incredibly hard decision — and my vacillating between Zagreb (the cushiest of my top choices), Tashkent, and Yekat are indicative of my indecisiveness.  Do I try to mold myself into the low-maintenance, third-world hardened guy I want to be?  Do I “cash out” my points and go somewhere nice and luxurious?  Do I go somewhere where I shall make mad loot, or somewhere where I can spend and live the high life? I am leaning strongly towards splitting the difference amongst my top three — as the current incarnation of the list shows — but which do I rank first? Help!

PS: My strategy of using Google image search and flickr tags to search for photos of the chosen cities, ranking choices based on how awesome the photos were, has unfortunately failed.  So I need something, people.

PPS: Have noted that many mention how beautiful Croatian women are — and how racist the Croats can be towards anyone who looks like they might be from the Ottoman Empire.  So that’s a wash. 



1. MJF - January 26, 2006

I’ll be shallow and vote towards the more social options. It’s a shame to waste your 20s, and you have the rest of your career to become third world guy.

2. M - January 26, 2006

Zagreb. Croatia was on the Times’ It list of vacation destinations and it’s been on my list for the last three years. I’d visit if there isn’t law school crap happening.

3. Sister - January 26, 2006

My vote is anywhere where I (and/or our parents) can visit.

Also, and more practically, Yana (best friend in England) is from Tashkent and says it is lovely.

4. Bob - January 26, 2006

Zagreb’s nice and all but Bratislava is the real cush post on the list. It’s only 45 minutes from Vienna.

I thought Skopje was a great second tour, but it sure does get small after a while though the Greek beaches three hours away help. P.S. Mak women are as beautiful as Croats, not to mention the Albanian women who beat them both.

In the end, you probably won’t go wrong with any of them…

5. Dak - January 27, 2006

Something to keep in mind about Zagreb — it’s a REALLY family oriented post. You’ll be pretty much the only unmarried person there, and the embassy won’t be very tight-knit because everyone will mostly leave work to go home and be with their families (exclusively). Ditto for the Brat.

That said, who doesn’t love Croatia?

Yekatarinburg is FREEZING. Like, ungodly, don’t leave the house for 6 months per year, holy hell I think my face cracked off in the wind, driving snow and misery kind of cold. But hey, if that’s your thing, then carpe Yekat.

Tashkent at number one is the right move, I would say. Especially with that dual pol/econ posting. Yes. You’ll have a lot more freedom there, and can wander from stan to stan to stan, and a great portfolio no doubt, and enough hardship to make it interesting but enough luxury (meat on a stick, for example) to make it ok.

If I’m you, I bump Antananarivo up to number 2. In related news, if Tashkent is one, I would wager that you’ll definitely get it; if Antana is 2, you’ll definitely get one of your top 2 choices.

Good luck! Let us know how it turns out.

6. Suz - January 27, 2006


7. Amy - January 28, 2006

An interesting list. A few things come to mind: I’m not sure that you’ll really be deciding whether you’re a “low-maintenance, third-world hardened kind of guy” or not with this decision. The balance of your career will let you know. How hard do you think Pak is going to be for *you*? How much of a reward do you think you’ll want as a result? Also, how much do you want to weigh the jobs themselves? I’m guessing your cone is PD (as is mine). And so, although I’d love to live in Moscow, I think y-e-e-c-h when I see GSO (a heavenly job for someone else, I’m sure). I’m not telling you anything you haven’t already thought of, I’m sure.
Amy, a first tour officer whose second tour is on your list

8. Anonymous - January 30, 2006

Antananarivo. Unless you love the cold. Tana is awesome. Gorgeous country, amazing people, good beer…

I don’t know what GSO is though, perhaps it sucks. Never been to Tashkent, but Uzbekistan is gorgeous.

For what it’s worth, I work for an NGO, so while I get to pop in and visit these places, I don’t actually have to live there, which likely is quite different.

9. Prince Roy - January 31, 2006

whoah, you haven’t even gone to your first post and you’re already compiling a bid list for the second tour? What gives? Things sure have changed from my day.

10. donna - May 24, 2006

cool i love snakes

11. Azzurra - November 4, 2006

Buon luogo, congratulazioni, il mio amico!

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