Posts Tagged ‘astana’

Day 3 – A pre-Christmas miracle

December 2, 2012

It snowed today! This is good for several reasons. 1) It means it was warm today (only like -10!), 2) The snow covered all the slippery ice so my chances of falling on my face and/or shattering my spine greatly decreased, and 3) The humidity level was finally higher than 2%, so I didn’t get super dehydrated and my face skin is still in tact! It’s a pre-Christmas miracle!

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Quick update for those of you who I don’t trust enough to be my facebook friends: We went to some sort of Christmas bazar thing today with like, the only other 20 foreigners in the entire country. I bought some ornaments for myself and maybe some lil souvenir gifts for some people. Maybe. Then we went to the mall and I bought a sausage and ate it and it was delicious. Then we went home.

The End.

Oh and I might as well share some other things I’ve learned about this place so far (in case, you know, you need to come rescue me):

1. No one speaks English or has ever heard of it or even knows that another language other than Kazakh and mayyyyybe Russian exists. No joke. And this sucks because all I know how to say is da (yes), nyet (no), spaziba (thank you), pajalista (please), Stolichnaya  (Stolichnaya), Engliski (English), and dasvendanje (bye). And I’m not even sure if those are the same words in Kazakh. So to communicate, you need to be fluent in sign language. Or Kazakh. Whichever you find easier.
2. Kazakhs are apparently obsessed with Maroon 5. I’m not sure why. But in the grocery store, on the radio in the taxi, on the local music channels, you name it – Adam Levine’s melodious feminine voice is to be heard. And that shit stays stuck in your head, too. So I’m like, slipping on a patch of ice somewhere, and in my head I’m all, “I got the moves like Jagger…”

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3. Any part of your body that is exposed to the air will fall off within a matter of minutes. I had to go drop something off last night at Ma’s friend’s apartment across the courtyard. It’s literally 25 meters away. I had to get mad bundled up, and then I was all like “Oh it’s not that far – I totes don’t need my scarf and gloves.” WRONG. YOU ALWAYS NEED YOUR SCARF AND GLOVES! My face went through the entire spectrum of colours, from normal to red to blue to purple to white and back again, and my hands had no feeling or sensation left. You could have shot me in each hand twice and I wouldn’t’ve felt it, from how numb they were. The funniest part is watching me try to light a cigarette in this state. And by funny I mean, laugh and I’ll kill you.

4. I’ve lived in cold places before. I’ve experienced snow for years. I know what it’s like. I also know that proactive measures are taken to ensure that the roads are cleared of snow as quickly as possible. This is done with a snow plow and salt. In Kazakhstan, they haven’t learned this yet. There is no pavement. There are no streets. You’re just driving constantly on snow. And walking on ice. Don’t get me wrong – they try! But they’re doing it wrong. I saw a guy today use water to break up the snow and then shovel it across the sidewalk. Uhm. Water freezes, asshole. Thanks in advance for the spinal fracture.

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5. All female Kazakhs are born with high-heels on their lil baby feet. This is the only explanation as to how they can possibly walk long and dangerous distances (I’ve even seen chicks RUN! Like, run to catch a bus, or run across the street) in 5 inch hooker boots that have zero traction.

Okay and that’s all for now. I need to go lie on top of the radiator for a while.

Day One – Captain’s Log

November 30, 2012

I’ve never felt this cold in all my conscious years of living. Like, seriously. It’s not even describable in words. When I landed, I honestly thought my hands would fall off while I was smoking. It was -18 degrees when I landed and still getting colder. And Ma had the audacity to tell me “It’s actually not that cold today!”

Some things worthy of note:

– I didn’t realise we were landing. I thought we were still in the clouds. This place is a barren wasteland, surrounded for like 500 km on all sides with tundra and wolves and bears. I took a picture when I landed. It’s on facebook, but my rendition looks like this:

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– There is a 90% chance that I will return without a face and hands.

– The toilet in Ma’s apartment has a heated seat and, wait for it… A BUTTON THAT YOU PUSH SO THAT WATER SPRAYS INTO YOUR POOP HOLE AND CLEANS IT FOR YOU! They have one setting for men, and one for women. Not really sure how that works.

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– There were fireworks at the palace across the street when we drove up to the apartment. I think they sensed my arrival.

– In order to go outside even for three seconds, a typical outfit consists of: a t-shirt, a sweater, a light jacket, a bigger jacket, a scarf, a hat (with ear coverage), leggings and/or thermal long underwear, jeans, and boots that cover at least halfway to the knee. If you miss one of the aforementioned items, you will perish.

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– Putting on the above mentioned array of clothing requires at least 15 minutes. We’re staying on the 11th floor. Perhaps it’s time to quit smoking?

– WordPress is actually blocked in Kazakhstan, so don’t tell the government I’m here before they come get m


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