12 June 2006

Almaty


We went on a quick trip to Almaty this weekend. It was just overnight, so there wasn't a lot of time to do much of anything. But Almaty is quite different from Bishkek, although in some ways it's a lot the same. I could see Bishkek looking a lot like Almaty if the money had come here instead.

We didn't get a lot of pictures, not even at the border. They wouldn't let us take any on the way there, and on the way home my younger son threw up all over himself and me, so I wasn't too worried about pictures. We made an interesting picture ourselves while we were waiting for our passports to get stamped. And there never is water in public bathrooms in this part of the world. The picture here is a replica of the Golden Man.

Kazakhstan really has some steep taxes though. Some friends of ours there get a shipment of 25 magazines once a month that they have to pay $150 in import fees for. I just got a shipment of homeschooling supplies that was worth a lot more than the magazines that wasn't taxed at all in Kyrgyzstan.

There certainly is a lot more of everything available in Almaty, but I rather like Bishkek. I'm glad we live here.

The road from the border to Almaty was amazingly good. I knew it had recently been completed, but we never once had to swerve to miss a pothole, it was paved the entire way, and there were lines painted on the road to mark the lanes. And people followed the lines. Amazing. It took 4 hours each way, including the border.

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