Almaty Continued

October 25, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

The past two days in Almaty have been very nice. I’ve worked very long days, but have also enjoyed myself. Yesterday it was rainy, but I didn’t mind this because I spent most of the day in shopping malls and supermarkets. After a long day of work, I decided to go to a bar called Guns and Roses that’s known to have a lot of English speakers. However, when I got there, I was literally the only one in the bar so I checked out the menu (which was the same as the Guns and Roses in Atyrau) and promptly left. I made my way to the “Shakespeare Pub”, another bar that has a reputation with English speakers. I walked in to find a few people sitting so I ordered a glass of wine.

At Shakespeare, the most notable person was a drunk Englishman hitting on one of the female servers, and the bar was playing an Eagles album. While I like the Eagles a whole lot, the mellow Eagles songs, for instance Tequila Sunrise, cause me to be very emotional, especially in my alone state, very nostalgic for my childhood and make me miss my dad a lot. Since I was not happy with the scene (I was looking for something a little more uplifting), I left to go eat at the Intercontinental Hotel where I had a fabulous salad and eavesdropped on a group of men speaking English. I believe they were in the Mining consulting business. They were kind of pigs, but it was interesting anyway. The server and I had quite a laugh at the mess I made from spilling salad dressing. Eek. She found the mess when she tried to take away the napkin I had strategically placed over the red plops of dressing (tomato goop) on the tablecloth. She let me keep the napkin there for the duration of the meal. At least no wine was spilled!

Today was sunny and beautiful outside, and I also got my laundry done!

For lunch, I had some traditional Pilaf from a vendor on the street. It consisted of rice and carrots, and some kind of meat. Horse? Beef? Not sure. I sat down on a ledge in the sun and started eating, but a police officer made me move to a bench in the shade.

After work, I went to a bar called Soho that has a very good reputation. As soon as I walked in, I was greeted with “Bonjour!” and some French men invited me to sit with them. Turns out they work for the French Consulate here and are Extremly kind and have Great senses of humor. They thought I looked French, which I found flattering, and after exchanging business cards, they told me I had a French name. Who knew!

They shared their foods —appetizers of smoked salmon (better than Costco!!!), some other smoked fishes, bruscetta, and then mini desserts. We drank and discussed TV shows, travel, Monty Python, family, music, etc. We had many laughs. After eating and drinking wine and beer, we had espresso and a few glasses of Cognac. I’ve never drunk Cognac before but pretended, and turns out I like cognac! We have plans to have lunch tomorrow at my hotel. They know the Chef here and called him right then to make sure we will get fresh fishes that are uncommon here and foie gras. I’m very excited. The men helped to negotiate a taxi for me back to the Hotel, and here I am now. I plan to catch up on Gossip Girl and South Park before sleeping.

Many kisses and hugs,

Annie

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