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Published: March 8th 2019
I have to admit it. I am in love. I mean IN LOVE. Smitten. Gaga. Head over heels. I am an absolute goner.
I fell hard and I fell fast. I know I should be embarrassed with this adolescent sort of commitment to finding love so quickly and in such a debilitating sort of way, but I am not. I am singing from the rooftops in love.
I know. This saccharin sort of attraction is nauseating to say the least. But I don’t think I am going to back down from this one.
It only took a few hours, but the attraction washed over me and left me gobsmacked wondering what happened.
I am in love with Almaty, Kazakhstan. I know. I am just as shocked as anyone.
Almaty isn’t necessarily my type and doesn’t fulfill my matrix of an ideal city. For starters it is isn’t in the Middle East which seems to be the region that always grabs my heart. I never heard the call to prayer. There were no animals sharing the roadways with bleeping vehicles and carts. Shopping was elegant, but there
wasn’t any wonderful market haggling over exotic treasures. There wasn’t any grit or grime. There is history in this city, but it doesn’t draw you in with historical references.
Almay isn’t the typical place that puts stars in my eyes. But on this trip, it surely did.
Istanbul has been my hands down my all time favorite city. The beautiful city straddling two continents stole my heart and I hear her calling my name on a regular basis. She hasn’t been replaced, but she now has a little stiffer competition.
Istanbul has always shared pieces of my heart with some other magical places like Alleppo, Syria; Tunis, Tunisia; Pushkar, India. They all make my heart dance. None of them are anything like Almaty.
Except, Almaty also made my heart dance.
I flitted around the city like a scene straight out of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Cue the staccato music. Don the bracelet sleeve coats with long leather gloves. And pretend that my hair is perfectly coiffed. There was a constant smile on my face.
I glided up and
down the pedestrian friendly streets with a sense of awe and wonder. There was undeniable beauty everywhere. Interesting architecture. Random art installations. Street paintings. Colorful and ornate buildings. Unique restaurants and cafes. The city had flourishes and beautifying accents where other cities just don’t have the time.
There were was an abundance of parks and green spaces. I mean everywhere. Little places to sit and meditate or sip coffee. Groves of trees just for the nature of it. Green patches for public consumption in a way that said, slow down and just enjoy the essence of our city.
There were twinkling lights and vintage looking street lamps. There were wrought-iron fences and gates that indicated a city that did not choose the cheap route. There was intricate tile work where there could have been blandness.
The city is sophisticated and well put together, but also sparkles in just the right way. It is old and it is new. It is hip, but it is also comfortable.
As I struggle with how to truly describe the essence of a city that almost immediately drew me under her
spell, I keep coming back to one thought.
Almaty is rich with texture.
The colors, the flourishes, the cultural inspiration, the immaculate standard and the drive to be anything but basic just seems to come together in an intoxicating elixir that tickles all the senses. You want to reach out and touch Alamty. You want to soak it up and bathe in it. You want to snuggle it and never let go.
Almaty has undeniably great texture that lures you in and steals your heart.
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