Astana Saturday

October 29, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Today was another pretty good day in Astana. Today I slept late(ish) and worked hard. I went to a mall that’s in the largest tent in the world. It’s very new. There’s a “beach club” at the top of it, but in my working state of mind I completely forgot to go check it out.

After many hours of working and walking through stores, I decided it was time to shop a little for myself. Sometimes it’s hard to resist. I saw some shoes I liked and was very excited to try them on, but unfortunately I was told the largest size they have is 7.5. I’m an 8 or 8.5 so that definitely put a check on my spending! I’m told by expats that live in Kazakhstan that it’s very difficult to buy clothes here because everything is too small!

After I finished with the mall, I was walking outside and in a plaza area a little girl ran up to me and asked me for my mittens. I was wearing my knitted Canada Olympics mittens that I bought in August on my last survey in Toronto. I had been getting good use out of them because it’s been very cold here. I really really liked these mittens. Also, I was very excited to wear them and match my boyfriend who has the same pair when it got snowy and cold in Boston but I couldn’t say no. She spoke Russian and at first I didn’t know what she was saying but then she showed me her hands and she looked so freezing and I noticed that her clothes and hat didn’t fit properly and thought well she obviously needs them more than I do. So I took them off and put them on her hands and she smiled hugely and seemed extremely relieved to have warm mittens. I was sad to have given away my matching mittens and a favorite souvenir from a previous survey, but also more sad that this girl was so freezing. I feel very lucky for many things but at that moment especially for having a warm jacket that fits me and also that I know I can go and buy more mittens. With some fortune, maybe some more matching mittens.

After more work, I tried to go to an Indian restaurant with a very good reputation, but they were not open to the public because they were hosting a wedding. Okay. So then I tried to go to a Kazakh/Uzbek restaurant and same thing, they were closed for having a wedding! In all the hotels, there are men and women taking wedding pictures. Same story near many of the landmarks and statues. I’m witnessing a strangely large amount of wedding events here!

I ended up going to a restaurant called “Line Brew” which was also on my list of restaurants to go to, just further down on my list. It’s in a castle-like building and they brew their own beers! I ordered wrong (vegetarian-ly) but it was okay, I still got satisfied. When I took a taxi home the driver tried to rip me off to the extreme, but I told him no way jose and gave him half as much as he asked for, but still double what the taxi ride should have cost.

Now it’s snowing outside but I’m cozy in my room. I think tomorrow for my day off I’m going to explore the older part of town and go up to the top of the Bayterek monument.



One Response to “Astana Saturday”

  1. Ronna Benjamin Says:

    I would be honored to buy you more mittens. You ate awesome! Love you. Big snow storm on its way to boston!

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