WRITTEN BY ERIC TWACHTMAN
Up at 7AM to get an early start back – on the road by 8. We stopped at a road side café for breakfast (I had eggs over easy with sausage – a Vienna sausage – and Cole slaw others had crepes with Eagle brand milk, or sour cream.
We made it back to Astana by 12:30. Aigul and family were getting ready to embark for the train to Almaty – so Beck, Sterling, Wes and I elected to go the inside bazaar – much like the outside one, but in a multi-story building downtown. The 1st floor is produce, 2nd, furniture and electronics, 3rd and 4th, clothing and shoes. Many of the stores were similar, but Sterl finally found a pair of shoes, and Wes found a Kazakh shirt that fit him. It turns out that sizes here run small – an XXL here is like Med. Back home.
We got back to the apartment for a bit of a nap, then dinner at Pizza city – the restaurant on the first floor of Aigul’s apartment. Very nice. It’s sort of a trendy place. Part of the menu was written in English. The pizza was OK.
After that, we went for a walk back to the river front area, to the Bambino ice cream stand. We met up with Altyn’s friend Adlet (a different one,) who needed a break from studying for his Civil service exam. He had been an exchange student in Butte, Montana, and worked as a roughneck in an oil platform in Wyoming.
While there, I once again was struck by the impressive police hats – they are of a large diameter and have a big badge on the front. Altyn asked one policeman if he would sell his – he said No; they are only sold to police. She then asked another, and offered 3000 Tenge. He said that it was too good to pass, and took Altyn to his apartment to get his spare. So on the eve of setting off to her wedding, Altie got me a great hat.
The only hitch in out stay at the Ant Hill was that the water was out city wide. We had to go to the first floor to fill up a bucket to be able to flush. I was going to have a hard time getting back up, since I did not have the elevator card. In this building, each ride needs to be paid for by swiping a card. Luckily, another bucket filler from a different floor swiped his card for me.