Blogs from Kazakhstan, Asia - page 7


Asia » Kazakhstan November 24th 2009

The other day I was Couch Surfing and met this lady who could read palms, she told me that I was a very lucky person that got through life by continued support of my guardian angels, which personally I think is sweet, and probably means I'm invincible. After this I started thinking about recent events and how true this actually might me. Coldness Luck The weather here is getting colder, when I was in Uzbekistan I met a guy heading to Spain, who swapped me my summer converse for hardy walking boots, continuing on to Almaty in Kazakhstan it started snowing and lo before me stood a leather jacket. A little patchwork later and it took me all the way to the harsher North of the country. I make a passing comment that I have no ... read more

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Semey November 19th 2009

Most people who think of Kazakhstan, think of Borat. Most people who have been to Kazakhstan might think of Almaty its former capital, and then there are some who decide to discover what the rest of the country might be like. I decided to go up north, and to keep me company along the way I went with an English man who went by the name of Tim, whom I had met in a rather decrepit dormitory in Almaty. Before long we were on a train riding up the steppes of Kazakhstan and I learned my first lesson on this country. Most of it is steppe! Flat, dry, and in winter cold, with a shade of white. Second lesson, the capital was moved from Almaty to Astana, which wasn't called Astana at the time. Astana means ... read more

Asia » Kazakhstan November 19th 2009

Kazakhstan - A huge oil giant country known mostly to the west by Borat, and that is all. The reality is that it is a country full of hospitality, Sovietised nomads, The Polygon, Siberian Steppe. The Effects of Sovietism are quite stark here, 1. The Aral Sea - yadda yadda yadda 2. The Virgin Lands Project - huge swathes of steppe was ploughed up and removed a good few feet of top soil, and no on one of the crazy long bus journeys we have taken you look out on nothing, endless and monotonous. Also Lake Balkhash shrinks because of this, similar to the Aral Diaster. 3. The Polygon - The nuclear testing facility in the Siberian Steppe - Stunted trees, health problems in the nearby towns and a large area where no one goes is ... read more
One man and his Stead
I wrote a song for you, it was called...
Who let the pigs out?

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty October 28th 2009

After a brief stop back in Tashkent in Uzbekistan to finish our Silk Road detour we headed off through Kazakhstan on the way back to Russia. The journey started well with the guy drving us to the border getting stopped by the police twice for speeding before getting lost and having to ask the cops who had just booked him where the border was. Various dodgy looking people on the Uzbek side helped us fill in the forms then we were happily adopted by a couple of ancients who walked us through the border very slowly (not so nice with hefty backpacks - could have carried them on our backs too and got there faster) finally lost them as they queue jumped and got through the border after 3 hours to be met by every taxi ... read more

Asia » Kazakhstan September 7th 2009

Atyrau, 7. September 2009 Nach zwei Wochen verlasse ich Almaty mit einem Zug nach Turkistan, wo ich das Mausoleum von Khoja Ahmad Yasavi besuche, das bei weitem architektonisch bedeutendste Monument Kasachstans. Ich unternehme auch einen Ausflug zum Fluss Syrdarja, der im kleinen Aralsee muendet. Junge Kasachen ueberreden mich zu einem erfrischendem Bad. Dies ist einer der raren Schwimmerlebnisse dieses Sommers, da meine Reise mich in erster Linie durch trockene Gegenden fuehrt. Es bleiben mir aber Zweifel was die Sauberkeit des Wassers anbelangt. Die Sowjets benutzten frueher das giftige Pestizid "Agent Orange" in der Region, um die Baumwollplantagen zu entlauben. Reste dieses Gifts koennen immernoch im Boden, im Wasser und in der Nahrung der Menschen in der Region nachgewiesen werden. Die Kindersterblichkeitsrate und die Zahl der Krebserkrankungen sind rund um den Aralsee einiges ho... read more
Das Mausoleum von Khwaja Ahmad Yasavi
Die Syrdarja
Ein Haus in Turkistan


Asia » Kazakhstan August 24th 2009

Almaty, 24. August 2009 Ein letztes Mal profitiere ich von den billigen, puenklichen und meist komfortablen chinesischen Zuegen, um mich in die Naehe der Grenze zu Kasachstan zu begeben. Als die Sonne ueber der Steppe aufgeht erreiche ich Jinghe, wo ich auf den Bus umsteige. Die zur Haelfte fertig gestellte Autobahn nach Yining fuert durch eine trockene Berglandschaft in Richtung Suedwesten. Auf der Passhoehe erreichen wir den Sayramsee. Das noerdliche Ufer ist sehr trocken, aber das suedliche ist der alpinen Landschaft der Schweiz sehr aehnlich. Hier hin kommen die halbnomadischen Kasachen aus dem Ili Tal im Sommer, um ihr Vieh weiden zu lassen. Im Grunde tun sie dasselbe wie die Schweizer Bergbauern, mit dem Unterschied, dass unsere Bergbauern in Alphuetten wohnen, die Kasachen aber in Jurten. Drei Naechte verbringe ich in diesen Zelten auf 2000 Meter ... read more
Bei den Kasachen am Ufer des Sayramsees
Ein Lastwagen auf der Passstrasse von Jinghe nach Yining
Die Jurten einer Kasachen Familie, bei der ich uebernachtete

Asia » Kazakhstan August 22nd 2009

We are ashamed to say that prior to visiting, the sum total of our knowledge of Kazakhstan was based on having seen Borat. This being an especially poor showing given that it is the seventh largest country in the world. We always had a suspicion that Borat wasn’t a documentary, but we didn’t fully appreciate how inaccurate a picture of the country it painted. Admittedly we saw only small percentage of the country, but it appeared to be an extremely westernised place. Having made the frustrating, but necessary, detour from Tashkent in order to get to a border crossing that was open to foreigners, we eventually arrived in Shymkent, in Southern Kazakhstan. We found Shymkent to be a very leafy, clean and pleasant city. If Uzbekistan left us felling as though we were back in Africa, ... read more
Horse Riding - Aksu Jabagly National Park
Butterfly - Karatau Mountains
Horse Riding - Aksu Jabagly National Park

Asia » Kazakhstan August 11th 2009

CENTRAL ASIA to EUROPE - (Aug 2007) - (Sunday 19th to Wednesday 22nd August) - So the day had finally arrived when I would start my long journey back to Europe, or to be more exact Moscow. Over 70 hours, including three nights, on a train all the way from Tashkent in Central Asia to Moscow in Eastern Europe. For the next few days I would be stuck on a train, travelling alone, and I didn’t really know what to expect. I’d nearly had a last minute change of plan and had been weighing up the possibility of travelling back to Europe via the Caucasus’ (Azabazan and Georgia) and into Turkey and from there into Western Europe and back to England. However, to do the region justice, I would probably have had to extend my trip ... read more
The Moscow bound train
Uzbekistan Railways
My home for the next 70 hours!

Asia » Kazakhstan July 25th 2009

Kazakhstan is by far the largest and most prosperous of the former Soviet Central Asian states. Stretching from the 7000m+ Tian Shan to the Caspian sea it is longitudinally nearly as large as the 48 contiguous states. In the east, pipelines carry petros across the mountains into China. The western most regions, where much of these petros are mined, are technically in Europe. It is the richness of its resources that makes the young state a standout in an otherwise impoverished region and, as one might imagine, more than a few neighbor states are at length trying to get their hands in the pot. The country is currently embroiled in an attempt to craft a national sense of identity amidst Soviet architecture and a very diverse culture. Here in Petropavlovsk, so far north that some Russians ... read more
Omsk, Russia
Russian bike tourist in Kazakhstan
Flat road, nice pavement

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty May 24th 2009

In an effort to avoid my normal boring titles, I was going to title my blog “Kazakhstan is nice”, and then after a few days I was going to title it “Kazakhstan has a veneer of niceness”, but I was already sick of people making the Borat references, so I decided not to reference that film at all and instead go with the title from the Beatles song which got stuck in my head. In his book “In Search of Kazakhstan”, which I mention here in my attempt to sound more literate than I actually am, Christopher Robbins talks about how in conversation with one of his friends he made the politically correct point that Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat”) would probably never have even felt that it was OK to pretend to be from Germany or ... read more

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