A Travellerspoint blog

Last week in Kazakhstan

One more night, give me just one more night

sunny 15 °C
View Round the world in 250 days on Nat and Ev's travel map.

With our time in Kazakhstan drawing to a very rapid close we tried to
make the most of the last week. Of the long list of things we wanted
to do whilst in Kazakhstan three tasks remained.

The first was a hike in the Tian Shan mountains that we could see from
our kitchen window whenever the weather (and smog) cleared. Saturday
morning the CR crew along with a visiting team from Belguim boarded
our 'marshuteka' and headed for higher ground. The road is pretty bad
in Shymkent and by the time we got to our start point it had well and
truly deteriorated to the point where we had to disembark numerous
times so our poor little van could get the extra clearance required to
negotiate potholes. After a harrowing journey we decided to break
early for our picnic lunch. On the whole Kazakhstan isn't a
particularly beautiful country but the mountains are certainly one of
the exceptions to this. We found a clearing by a river with grass that
would challenge the St Andrews greens for a putting surface and set up
a feast of a picnic. It's always a little hit and miss when everyone
is told to bring something, fortunately this was definitely a hit all
the way down to toasted marshmallows for desert.

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Post lunch a few of
the party decided to take the low road while the Starrs (regulars in
the mountains) and the Snows (who are training for Mount K) decided to
take the high road. With nothing to follow but winding animal paths we
rumbled most of the way through waist high thorn shrubs and patches of
snow in a straight line towards the summit. With time against us it
became more of a work out than a stroll with the last few hundred
meters up a sheer hill, precariously destabilised by recent rains and
melting snow. Once on top of the massive peak it became apparent that
we had taken the hardest possible route. It was a bitter sweet victory
and needless to say the descent down the south face of the mountain
took a fraction of the time of our northern acsent.

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The second task required much less physical strength but was proving
just as difficult - trying to get our hands on some horse. Horse is
more of a speciality of steppe dwellers so getting our hands on some
Horse sausage and Besbarmak was tricky. I thought all was lost until
on our last day at work Nat was given the day off from cooking and a
specialist was called in. I can happily say horse is a lovely meat. It
has a distinct yet understated taste similar to venison and the
portion we got was very lean. The horse sausage, which is served with
a healthy dose of fat, was also very tasty but the spices kind of hid
the flavour so it could have been any meat really. All in all two
thumbs up from us. A big thanks to Sar for making my equine dreams
come true.

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The third task of getting a Kazakhstan Trackie was proving dificult in
Shymkent but I'm pleased to say I have acquired a horrendous shinny
tracksuit in Almaty. I'll try to post a photo of the afore mentioned
outfit in the next post. Something to look forward to ;)

The biggest bummer about leaving Shymkent was that we had to cut our
last week short for medical reasons. It sucked to have to say bye to
such an awesome loving group of people in such a rushed way. Hopefully
it's not the our last goodbye and we will get a chance to see everyone
again sometime. The good news is everything appears to be in working
order and as a bonus I got to experience the full extent of the Kazakh
medical system. I won''t go into too much detail but this is what's
been going on over the last few days. I noticed a lump. I talked to a
doctor friend from Shymkent. Let me say now that dropping your pants
in front of someone is much harder once you have had lunch with
them.... Anyway she recommended we head to Almaty for an ultra sound.
There is a good international clinic in Almaty and so we first we
headed to them for a referral. After dropping my britches for a second
time I was sent to the local hospital for the ultra sound after being
told 'whatever they tell you and whatever they want to do, don't let
them do anything!'. I was taken to the office of a local doctor with
very cold very firm hands and ordered to drop 'em for the third time.
After testing my pain threshold I was sent to a large Russian woman
with an even larger peroxided hairdo. There was a long queue as I
entered and whilst I had my pants down for the fourth time my doctor
decided to join us barging in exposing me to the next victims who were
of coarse curious to see how I was getting on. My Kazakh Doctor
decided that my predicament was due to the cold and recommended a
coarse of "physical heating". Ahhh, I'll pass this time thanks. We
headed back to the International Medical Clinic with the printouts and
after one more pant drop I was given antibiotics and told that I would
need to get myself checked in a week's time. At least the South
African Doctors should have warmer hands... Sorry, didn't get a soft
copy of the ultrasound so no photo's.

Only a few more days and we head to Africa (via a Big Mac at Heathrow)

Sure I'm flattered, maybe even a little curious. But the answer is no!

Lots of love
Ev and Nat

Posted by Nat and Ev 08:12 Archived in Kazakhstan Comments (0)

HAPPY (Kazakh) NEW YEAR!!!

For the man at the back with the tickets in his hat

sunny 20 °C
View Round the world in 250 days on Nat and Ev's travel map.

A few weeks ago I noticed a change in the air as Shymkent awoke from its winter slumber. Nauryz Meyrami was fast approaching and all good Kazakhs know what that means… It was time for a city wide spring clean. Buildings are painted every shade of pink from bright pink to ultra bright fluoro pink, trees are slashed to a uniform 5 meters, bins are emptied, fountains are turned on, rubbish is removed from the drains, streets are swept and for such a special occasion people even wash their winter clothes…

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By Nauryz Eve everything is spotless and phase two starts. Phase two involves tackyifying the city. By this I mean finding whatever decorations are available and plastering them all over the main public areas of the city despite there lack of relevance to the start of the farming calendar. Christmas declarations and Flower day declarations featured most prominently but the most disturbing decorations were those paying homage to Disney’s Shrek. Fortunately with the already eclectic mix of ornamentation on display even Shrek seemed a natural part of the festivities.

We too had been eagerly anticipating Nauryz but not for the communal clean up, nor the concerts, markets and food stalls that would line the square but for the biggest day of the Kazak racing calendar. Kazakhstan is made up of many people groups but the two biggest are the Kazakhs and the Russians. Under the Soviet Union Kazakh culture was seen as being very lowbrow and it feels like that prejudice still exists to a certain extent today so when Kazaks are whipped into a nationalistic frenzy and given the chance to let their hair down and be as Kazakh as they possibly can you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be plenty of equine action.

The buzz was palpable we left our building to head to the Hippodrome. Although it was tempting, we resisted stopping and listening to the Kazakh concert (it’s not an attractive language when spoken and singing doesn’t really improve the listening pleasure) hooked up with the CR team and made our way to the outskirts of town to the Royal Shymkent race track. Animal lovers - skip the next few paragraphs or perhaps stop reading now.

We didn’t have to wait long for the main event, Kokpar. Kokpar is kind of like polo but rather than hitting a ball the riders fight over the carcass of a goat or sheep. I believe in the game we were watching the contested beast was a sheep. In times gone by they would start the game with a live animal but in this modern day and age they have progressed to slaying the sheep before the game begins.

This is basically how the game is played

The start is similar to water polo with all players partaking in a race to the sheep (as I mentioned this has been made considerably easier since animal cruelty laws prevented the use of a live sheep). Some players go for the “ball” others try to block but eventually someone gets a clean grab at the ball.

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If they are lucky they can make a break for it but usually the effort of picking up a slain beast from the ground whilst on horseback slows the winner down enough for the other team to grab a leg and a horseback tug of war ensues.

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Once the initial contest is established the game becomes remarkably similar to rugby without a backline. Basically every man and his horse tries to get a hold of the ball. This is also where rucking comes into the game although with their feet in the stirrups, rucking is near impossible, so they do the next best thing: whip the opponent's head until he moves and you can get a clean grab at the ball.

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Once someone gets a clean break they will tuck the sheep under a leg and bolt for the goal. A strong enough player will be able to give the sheep a good swing and release from a distance whilst at full pace to avoid another ruck / maul on the try line. As demonstrated by this fine Kazakh shooting from the 3 point line.

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Of coarse if the shoot isn’t taken in time things can get pretty nasty around the goal as demonstrated by this poor filly who was pushed into the goal by the rolling maul.

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After the end of the match everyone has sore hands and hoofs.

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The fun didn’t stop there; the next event was Catch and Kiss (or hug if you can’t get close enough for a kiss). This crowd pleaser involves a female rider who gets a head start of 20 meters or so being chased by a male rider for 300 meters. If the man catches the woman they ride back the 300m and the man is allowed to show her as much affection as is possible from horseback. The real fun starts when the women makes it home safely as rather than being kissed she has the privilege of whipping the poor suitor for the return leg. Spurred on by the crowd she gives it her all, beating him for all he’s worth.

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There are a few other games of horseman and horsewomanship but the most prestigious event is the Shymy 3000. Unfortunately Royal Shymkent doesn’t have the funds for a starting gate so the start is dictated by someone false starting and the rest of the field ignoring the official’s flags and giving chase. My preferred horse didn’t make it to the starting line in time and spent the entire race giving chase from a good half a lap behind. He did me proud but never closed the gap and the false start took line honours.

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It was very cool being part of such a spectacular cultural shin-dig, the weather was good the food was fatty and the locals were going off. If you’re thinking of visiting Kazakhstan I encourage you to coincide your trip with Nauryz.

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When he beat the odds, they changed the rules. When he broke the records, they weighed him down. But he had one thing on his side...the faith of a boy. Together they lived a legend that inspired a nation and won the heart of the world.

Lots o’ love,

Ev and Nat

Posted by Nat and Ev 19:50 Archived in Kazakhstan Comments (0)

Why CRCA?

Forget about your woman and that water can, Today were working for the man

sunny 10 °C
View Round the world in 250 days on Nat and Ev's travel map.

Ok it’s time for the what, why, how and who of why we have decided to come to an industrial city in Kazakhstan in winter for 2 months….

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CR is an aid organization that seeks to meet needs with resources. It’s kind of like a huge Vinnies on a wholesale level, but rather than selling goods, CR gives them away to welfare organisations that reach out to those most in need across the globe. CR started in Hong Kong in 1995 with a handful of people including Andy who is now heading up the Central Asia branch. Hong Kong is a city of excess in a region of poverty and with a little effort the discarded goods of an affluent society can make a huge difference to people in poverty stricken countries. The other key factor is that Hong Kong is one of the busiest harbors in the world and with thousands of cargo ships heading off to every corner of the globe CR has been able to spread the love! So CR can fill a 40ft container and send it to any port and the cost is a tiny fraction of the value of the good it contains.

CR Central Asia was set up to access the harder to reach areas of this region. It has only been in operation for three years and is growing rapidly to keep up with the growth in welfare groups helping people throughout Central Asia. Basically there is way more need than they can meet and hopefully in the coming years CR can close that gap.

A few years ago I went to visit a friend who was involved with CR in Hong Kong. I only had a few days but in that short period of time it was clear that the work they were doing was having a huge impact on thousands of people. Being a tiny part of it was so uplifting that since than I have been waiting for the right time to go back. When planning our trip we were keen to take some time to get involved with aid work and to see what was going on out in the field first hand. A few of our friends have been involved with CRCA and through discussion with them and careful consideration we decided that we could be of use and a few emails later it was locked in.

CRCA consists of 9 full time staff, two from Australia, one Belgian girl, one American guy and 5 Kazakhstanies. It’s an awesome team and we’re really lucky to be able to spend time with such cool people.

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The one small hurdle for us has been that the majority of the office work needs to be done in Russian. This has made it harder for us to get involved in that side of the operations, which in a country that loves red tape, is a substantial chunk of what CRCA spends time doing. That being said there is still plenty of work to be done and thankfully lots of it doesn’t require any language at all!

CRCA was given a building and some land in Shymkent by a British aid organization when they first arrived and as the team expands more and more of the building needs to be renovated to house the growing operations. I have been helping Vitalik and Arman renovate the ground floor of the building using my extensive building skills(!) One would think that having a father who is a builder would automatically equip me with a wide range of skills and on one level it has, I certainly think it has given me enough confidence to give anything a crack, but it has still been a learning experience! I have thus far painted, plastered, sanded, tiled, fit doors and cleared land.

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Nat on the other hand has been in the more familiar surrounds of the office and the kitchen. She has been mainly helping with the English side of the admin which primarily involves communications and reports although she has also been called on to cook lunch for the team 4 days a week. Her biggest challenge has been coming up with recipes with a very limited range of ingredients and big cost constraints (aim $1 per person per day). Needless to say she has come up with some delightful variations on the standard fare of carrots, cabbage and potatoes (a big thanks to Sal and Tam for the helpful input). The girls in the office have loved having her there and are constantly surprised with the vigor with which she attacks any work she is given (which is normally the jobs they don’t want to do). She has also been involved with the ‘individual help’ department. This is CR’s way of reaching out to our neighbours in Shymkent. Basically the poor of the city can come to the office and we have a room full of all sorts of clothes, school supplies and toys and they are given as much as they need. It does require some background work and sometimes we visit their houses to assess what they need most. Both Nat and I have visited a few peoples houses and it’s amazing how welcoming and hospitable people are. One could speculate that it’s because they are buttering us up and normally I would be skeptical, but in-general we have found the people of Kazakhstan to be unbelievably welcoming, something to aspire to really.

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On Wednesday all other activities are ceased for container day, also referred to as going to the Gym. This is where the rubber hits the road. Each week we have a specific objective, for example this week we were going through a newly arrived container and sorting the contents into five containers all going to different places. The most urgent shipment is going to Afghanistan and thankfully today we managed to fill the complete order so after it gets inspected by customs next week it will be on its way! This is particularly exciting for us as it is something that we have been more heavily involved with and also because a few weeks ago it looked like the shipment was going to be delayed or not go at all due to a funding crisis. Fortunately a few of our friends from home stepped up to cover the transport costs and when it leaves the compound next week it will certainly be thanks, in part, to them.

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CR does an awesome job and the crew here have all given up a lot to serve the people of Central Asia. It’s an honour to be able to get involved even if it is only on a short term basis. Our time thus far has been challenging, thought provoking, tough at times and but generally, a whole lot of fun. We are really glad we ended up here. I’m already dreading saying goodbye to such an awesome group of people.

If you have any specific questions about CR or what we have been doing feel free to email us or comment and we'll get back to you asap.

In Sicily, women are more dangerous than shotguns.
Lots of love,
Ev and Nat

Posted by Nat and Ev 07:41 Archived in Kazakhstan Comments (0)

Uzbekistan & The Silk Road

Money Money Money, Must be funny, in an Uzbek world

sunny 14 °C
View Round the world in 250 days on Nat and Ev's travel map.

With our one month Kazakh visa running perilously low on days it was time to make a move. Nat went to the local currency exchange and returned with a wad of Uzbek Cym that was big enough to warrant a briefcase, preferably one that you can handcuff to your wrist. I think the currency situation in Uzbekistan says alot about the country. The largest denomination is 1000 cym which is roughly $1 aud! The other parallel problem is that getting money in Uzbekistan is near impossible. Once you have found one of the three ATMs in Tashkent you can only take out 20,000 cym ($20) and seeing as we pay $7 per transaction it doesn't really seem like a good deal. Fortunately we were forewarned and so we withdrew 300,000 cym prior to leaving Kaz, that's 300 1000 some notes hence the need for the briefcase! More on the cashola problems later...

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On Friday afternoon we caught a mini van to the boarder and negotiated a taxi for the last 20 kms to our hotel in Tashkent. We knew we would be in Tashkent for a few days waiting for our new Kazakh visas so we decided to do a little exploring on the weekend. Samarkand has long been a mecca for Muslims and travellers alike. It was the biggest hub for Central Asian trade during the 14th to 17th centuries and as such became a major stop on the Silk road bringing in such riches that no expense was spared in constructing buildings during the period. In more recent times it has become a quintessential stop on the hippy trail. As we approached the Old Samarkand it was easy to see why people have been drawn here for centuries.

I'm going to let the photos do most of the talking.

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After a awesome weekend in Samarkand it was tempting to head further west to Bukhara and Khiva but it was time to head back to Tashkent for our rendezvous at the Kazakh embassy. I was looking forward to the train trip back. I was 80% of the way through a trashy spy thriller leaving me just the right amount pages to fill the 4 hour train trip. Half way through the first page the girl next to me said hello. I have blogged about this already but allow me the chance to reiterate; once you start or become involved in a conversation on public transport you're committing to continuing the conversation until one of the parties involved reaches his or her destination. Needless to say I didn't get to start reading until we were back in Tashkent and didn't finish my book until the wee hours of the morn!

Apparently once upon a time Tashkent was a beautiful and ancient city. Unfortunately we were 50 years too late. An earthquake in 66 destroyed most of the ancient buildings and thanks to the wisdom of that time the city was rebuilt in Faux Islamic / Soviet architecture. The Tashkent of today is a stunning mix of concrete and blue corrugated iron domes. Despite this we set out to see if we could uncover any gems that had made it through the architectural slaughter. We failed. Fortunately we had more luck with our re-entry to Kazakhstan mission. Everything went really smoothly and once again we left surprised at how easy the red tape part of our journey has been.

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By this stage our briefcase of Sum was starting to look dangerously low and with lots of souvenirs to purchase we were in dire need of more Sum. It was time to break ground, it was time to acquire some Sum from within the belly of the beast. First strike was our Hotel they told us to try the Hotel Mir who told us to try the Askana Bank who told us to go to the international banking department who told us to go the the Uzbekistan National Bank. As far as I could tell we were being told to go to the reserve bank and ask them to cash our travellers cheque. Seemed like a long shot but 3 hours and 4 taxis later we were getting desperate. We made it through the rigorous security and into the nerve centre of Uzbek banking. Now it was a matter of finding an Uzbek government official who would help us. After a few misdirection we finally found the Sum counter and the Uzbek Granny who evidently controls the one place you can get more than 20000 sum at one time. No wonder the black market in Sum is alive and kicking! A few forms and customs declarations later we left with our 150000 sum. Hardly seems worth it for $150.

The next day we got the chance to visit Teen Challenge who are one of the organisations CR support throughout Central Asia. We drove out of Tashkent to the TC farm where people are helped to overcome addiction and to reenter society with new skills. Part of the project is funded by micro businesses that help the students learn a skill and also to learn about a good work ethic. It was a blast to see all the micro businesses in action and to be so welcomed by brothers in a foreign land. I was asked to say a few words after lunch. "Not much just 15 minutes or so". I choked and didn't put my best public speaking foot forward but they were gracious and thanked me for sharing anyway.

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We rounded our time in Uzbekistan off with a night at the Opera. We had booked early and got great seats in the front row. It wasn't strictly Opera, it was a concert that showcased a mixture of Uzbekistan's finest performers including orchestral music, Uzbek singing and dancing, opera and ballet. It was great to get just a taste of each of the styles, however I can say that whatever good work was done in me by the movies "Save the Last Dance" and "Centre Stage" has been completely undone and it will be a long time before I sign up for a ballet performance. My Favourite had to be the opera, I was literally tingling at the end of one piece. Who Knew!

I am the best goddamn dancer in the American Ballet Academy. Who the hell are you? Nobody.

Lots o' love,
Ev and Nat

Posted by Nat and Ev 02:48 Archived in Uzbekistan Comments (1)

Chimbulak and Almaty

It's my party and I'll _ _ _ _ _ if I want to.

snow -12 °C
View Round the world in 250 days on Nat and Ev's travel map.

Not much seems to go to plan in Central Asia. In my last post I mentioned that we were off to Almaty for a few days to get our Uzbek visas. Hours before boarding the train we decided to check one last time that the Embassy would definitely be open. Good thing we did as, despite what we had been told by numerous people, they were closed on Fridays. I was looking forward to spending my birthday snowboarding but as fate would have it I would instead be available for the CR working bee. Hurrah!

Actually it was good fun. Anyone who has been camping with me will know I love a good tree bend and smashing trees in general. It's not a anti-greeny thing, I love trees, it is just that there is something so satisfying about expressing human kinds' dominance over nature. The task for the day was to clear a part of the site that had at one time been a park but had degenerated (or more accurately regenerated) into a full blown forest. There are a few NGOs that use the site so we had plenty of workers, it was time to wind back the biological clock.

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That took care of my birthday day but as for the night I thought it would be nice to go out to dinner with the CR crew. I asked a few people and they seemed reluctant but agreed to go out. I asked Arman and he asked what time?? I said 7ish. I cant be sure what he said as he doesn't speak much English but I did recognise the words Superstar KZ (aka Kazakhstan Idol). That's when the penny dropped. The begrudging responses were those of people giving up the highlight of the TV week. With a few quick adjustments plans changed and I hosted my very first Idol party. If you're keen to become an Idol of some sort I would suggest you try in Kaz, based on the people that got through I'm pretty sure even I would be in with a fair crack of taking out the whole thing.

With Idol out of the way we hit the town for dinner and dancing. Arman (being the expert on all things Kazakh) showed us a thing or two about how to pick up using different dance moves. As far as I can tell my best bet is doing the 80's shoulder shimmy thing whilst cornering my chosen target. I move closer and closer until she does the Banannaramma Venus hand wavey thing back at me at which point it's all over. I tried very hard but Nat was very good at the Bannanaramma hand wavey thing and in the end I gave up.

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After a "relaxing" Sunday shopping in the Shymkent bazar we boarded the train to Almaty. We didn't book in time to get into the good carriage but the people at the back of the train were really nice so we were happy to save the $30. Unfortunately the beds in 3rd class are only about 5ft long which has my feet hanging over the edge by a good foot which made It very hard for people to pass without toughing my feet. It was also very unfortunate that the height of the bed plus the length of my feet placed my big toe at crotch height. Needless to say I was always grateful when passers by chose to give me a little backside rather than the front!

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We went straight to the embassy to put in our applications only to be told to return at 2pm. Our friend JP who is a regular at the Uzbek embassy had warned us that if you turn up at the advertised opening time you're likely to be 30th in cue. He also warned us that the waiting room was open air and with the snow coming down we weren't too keen to wait outside too long. It leaves you with a tricky equation. We shot for 30 minutes early and ended up 7th in line. Not too bad. Shortly after 2 the guard informed us that unfortunately the visa processing gentleman decided to have an extra long lunch and there would be a delay, a delay that would leave us out in the -5 waiting room for an extra 75 minutes. The lunch was probably a good thing as the diplomat was in such a good mood after his lunch that our applications were processed on the spot (as opposed to two weeks) without the $50 US urgent fee much to the disgust of our friend JP who had made the 16 hour trip from Shymkent twice (once to lodge and once to collect) and still had to pay the urgent fee.

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We were kind of hoping for a few days in Almaty to do a bit of sight seeing but with work to be done at CR HQ we decided to head home the following night. This gave us the afternoon to wander the streets and most of the next day to do something a bit more substantial. Seeing as I missed out on my birthday boarding it was decided that we would head to Chimbulak for the day. We got up the next day at 7ish got all rugged up and headed out into the still snowing Almaty morning. The traffic didn't seem to be moving too much but after a few minutes we managed to get a bus. 20 minutes and 100 meters later we decided walking might be faster. You would think that in a city used to snow they would be well equipped to deal with the 30cm fall. Cars' wheels were spinning out of control, police were trying to get to accidents, traffic was at a standstill, the city was pretty much in meltdown. It was a long cold walk across the city to the bus stop for the ski resort and by the time we got there it was already after 10. The meltdown had obviously affected this side of the city too. We waited for 20 minutes for a bus or a taxi and when the taxi arrived he asked for 2000 tenge ($20) as opposed to the 60 tenge (60c) it would cost us to catch the bus. I said no, Nat was happy to start with but was ruing the decision after another 5 minutes standing on the side of the road. I was confident we had made the right decision but when the next taxi pulled up I caved and got ready to be bent over. I say taxi but I need to clarify. Basically hitchhiking is more accurate. Anyone can take paying passengers for a negotiated price. Some people even splash out on a taxi sign. The second suitor was a little more gutsy, seeing the "Touriska" stuck in the snow he shot for 10000 tenge ($100) for the 10 minute trip. Fortunately the number 6 bus came as we were trying to talk him down and we got away with 60 tenge. the next stage of the journey requires you to get a 4WD taxi. We picked one up within minutes and it looked as if we were home and hosed until... 1km from the resort our trusty steed began to wheel spin and blow way too much black smoke. The hill was ridiculously steep and to be honest I'm surprised anyone makes it to the resort. We did get passed by a very ingenious VW driver who had converted his front wheel drive into a rear wheel drive simply by reversing up the 10km hill, fishtailing the whole way might I add. We bid farewell to our 4WD and walked the last kilometer. It appears we are unable to ski without a serious hike involved. I hope our luck changes before we reach the Andes! the morning had all but run out by the time we got Nat some skis and purchased out lift tickets but it looked like there was hardly anyone around and there certainly wasn't a queue for the lift so it looked like we were in for 4 hours of power.

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I think at some stage the resort owners must have been given the choice, do you want a high speed detachable quad chair to replace the crappy double you're currently using as your arterial lift OR would you like to blow a whole lot of cash on a flashy electronic ticket scanning system. They chose poorly. We scanned our tickets in the flashy turnstile and prepared to get whacked in the legs by the nondetachable double chair. There were only a few people on the hill and the 30cm of fresh was still more or less untouched other than the central groomed run and even that had some sizable patches of untouched snow. After a few runs we realised they were about to open lift 2 which accesses the higher reaches of the resort. We managed to be the first up that chair and the run down was glorious. It's not a great hill but gliding through powder is pretty awesome no matter how short the run is or how steep the terrain is. We continued to hit the upper slopes for the rest of the arvo and had a great time. Had things gone to plan we would have been skiing on 3 week old snow with patches of grass popping through everywhere but as luck (or Divine intervention) would have it the delay in our trip delivered us the best conditions of the season thus far. nice.

This Friday we head to Uzbekistan for a few days. I promise in the next few weeks I will write a post on what CR does and how we fit into that.

Also a reminder that you can see more of our photos in our Album
http://www.travellerspoint.com/photos/gallery/users/Nat%20and%20Ev/

And if you want to know when we update you can subscribe by following the link at the top right hand corner.

"Once again, things that could've been brought to my attention YESTERDAY!"
Lot's of love,
Ev and Nat

Posted by Nat and Ev 04:34 Archived in Kazakhstan Comments (2)

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