Near, far, wherever you are…
04.02.2007 - 03.04.2007 9 °C
The last two months have been an awesome experience. I think if I came to Kazakhstan for a week or two I wouldn’t really get it. It’s got a few cool things to see and the Soviet / Asian combo is very strange especially if you haven’t been to Northern Asia or Eastern Europe before but from a tourists perspective it’s not a must see. Staying in the one place for two months has given us a chance to get to know Shymkent but much more importantly to get to know some really cool people. Sure we have seen some cool things and done some cool stuff but at the end of the day 99% of why Kaz has been so great is the people.
I spent most of my time with Vitalik and Arman neither of whom speak much English (although I suspect Vitalik knows much more than he lets on) so most of the time we communicated in charades and very slow broken English and broken Russian. Russian isn’t considered a beautiful language but Vitalik speaks it with such joy and passion that at times I could have sworn he was speaking Italian. I heard these three expressions on a regular basis.
- Evan you are very good man
- Evan you are reality man (by which he meant I was a real man)
- I think it’s ok, I think it’s fine (used as a word of comfort when I had botched something up)
The other highlight was spending time with Andy and Sarah. For starters they watch West Wing, play Settlers of Catan and 500 and Sarah is an awesome cook, a skill witch become so much more valuable when every restaurant in town servers the same dishes, Plov and Shashlik. It was also awesome to witness at close range the work they are doing here and the profound follow on affects it is having in a struggling part of the world.
Our unofficial assimilation officer was Alice, who took it upon herself to make sure we felt at home as soon as we touched down. Alice has a British / Belgian thing going on so she sounds British and on the surface seems British but has a cool continental undercurrent. It’s kind of hard to explain but what I’m trying to say is we really like her.
It was hard to leave, especially in such a rushed fashion but I’m sure I will see some, if not all of them again. In fact on our farewell card we received strict orders from the most dainty of the CR team Masha who informed us “you must come back to stay with us for 5 years and then you can go home!”
On the Kg front Kaz wasn’t too helpful. Despite all the manual labour the plentiful, cheep, heavy meals kept me at a stable low 90’s. Still got some work to do but I’m sure Africa will get me well and truly into the 80’s.
Nat is still collecting her thought re Kazakhstan so keep an eye out for a "Kaz according to Nat" update.
As promised here is my new trackie.
For now it’s time to push on with the sounds of TOTO on loop in my head….
Here’s looking at you kid
Ev and Nat