Almaty in Kazakhstan. Travelling to Kazakhstan at the time Borat was released was surprising, because it turned out to be a very civilised place.

Arriving at the airport was the first surprise. All of a sudden, you're in an Asian country. People are quite friendly - as long as they're not Russkis. And, to top it off, it's minus 15.

Kazakhstan reminded me a lot of Thailand - it's a multicultural Asian country. Just really really cold, and very Russian-esque.

This photo shows one of the main streets - Akhmatova - at peak hour. This view looks south over the Tien Shien mountains, which surround half the city. The town itself is quite flat, so the mountains dominate the town to the extent that they have permeated the psyche of the people.

"How do I get to blah?" "Head uptown towards the mountains."

On the weekend, the Kazakhs in Almaty dress up in their ski gear and go up to Chimbaluk, the ski resort about half an hour out of town. Up that way, there's also an ice-skating rink, the highest Olympic sized skating rink in the world.

Almaty is very beautiful, and has cheap skiing. It should become an Asian travel hub, because the tenge converts very well to the Australian dollar.

Probably the only currency to do so.

1 comment:

Wes said...

A Kazakhstan. I watched Borat tonight, and I couldn't read this without posting a response. You take such fantastic photos and this is no exception!

Photo Blog Blogs - Blog Top Sites Add to Technorati Favorites