Blogs from Kazakhstan, Asia - page 7

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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
police

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!

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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
Almaty
Almaty
Almaty

Asia » Kazakhstan » Oral May 24th 2009

So I failed in my attempt to get from East Timor to Jordan without flying. I was so close, in fact I was even in Europe. The city of Oral in far northwest Kazakhstan is west of the Ural river, and so is considered part of Europe. In Russian it’s “Uralsk”, but in English it’s usually called after the Kazakh, “Oral”. I went as far as Oral, but I was hoping to go all the way to Kiev. And from there it would have been easy to get buses or the ferry down to Turkey and from there through Syria into Jordan. Anyway. I left off the last blog in the small town of Turkistan. I got on that train fine, I arrived with plenty of time to spare. I didn’t have much food with me, ... read more
Oral - park
Oral - Church

Asia » Kazakhstan May 5th 2009

For four Journey’s there has been a travelling soul that has been in me wanting to find adventure, wanting to discover new things, new cultures. That soul has enjoyed nearly every possible moment. But here in Central Asia that soul was gradually drained of life. Hence for the first time ever, I pulled the pin and got a flight outta here. My last stop was the Kazakhstan former capital Almaty. One thing about football is that it can indicate where a country is looking towards. All the Stan countries play in the Asian confederation because they see themselves as Asians. Kazakhstan on the other hand sees themselves and look towards Europe hence they play in UEFA. This means it can be expensive for Asian standards. Hotels are limited with the cheapest costing about $20 with no ... read more
English Uni
Zenkov Cathedral
War Memorial

Asia » Kazakhstan September 21st 2008

We had a lovely albeit brief stay in Kazakhstan, a week of travel and errands, complemented by a bit of sightseeing and hospitable locals. Our stay here began with the multiple border checkpoints between Russia and Kazakhstan. The train crosses the border at about 9pm, with the rigmarole of the Russian and Kazakh border guards prodding and poking every nook and cranny of our compartment, what they were looking, drugs?, guns?, their hat they'd forgotten last time?, who knows, but they didn't find it and after a while stamped our passports and let the train on its way. Next thing I know I wake up to another Russian checkpoint gaurd and bizarrely the Russian man in the bed next to me had grown a moustache, changed his clothes and now looked distinctly Kazakh! Of course what ... read more
Lucy Enjoying borsch
Sunset on the train
Platform Vendors




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