Body blocking traffic gridlock

My very first blog about our adventures in Central Asia where my husband and I first met in May of 1993.  We have come full circle back to the origin of our courtship in the Tian Shan mountains near China.  My husband, the “Kazakh nomad” just arrived in Almaty, Kazakhstan yesterday and has much to tell me about the changes from 14 years ago.  He is a “take-charge” kind of guy but I told him over Skype that I did not want him to do any more body blocking of traffic, it could be hazardous to his health.  Especially in Kazakhstan!!!  The following is what he wrote in a composite form from several e-mail exchanges we had.

It is 6 p.m. [Friday night] here which it turns out is 7 a.m. your time  (Kazakhstan apprently just “fell back” with Day Light Savings time) It is very hot in Almaty and nothing seems to have air conditioning. 

Plane arrived about 6:00 a.m. because of late departure (mechanical problem) There are a couple of ” Soviet ”  things; an announcement not to take pictures at the airport. They x-ray (some) of your bags WHEN YOU ARRIVE. (I dont’ know why.) I was very late getting through a crowd at passport control and joined Canadian professors in a KIMEP bus that sat in an incredible traffic jam. It took forever to get in from the airport.  I finally got out and blocked traffic bodily so we could get in to the street. I stood in front of essentially cars inching their way through the parking lot.  Not a soul was  Minnesota nice.

We are being put up in the Kazkahstan hotel, the tall one with the crown like top.I got a long time to get to know a nice young Canadian from Vancouver who is also in this department. He is Syrian, born in Uganda , but his family was forced out by Idi Amin.  He is Muslim, but says he has just started reading the Bible.  Single. Worried about the cost of an apartment, that may take 1/3 of his salary.

I am assigned a fourth course and I wanted to get an idea of how my replacement teaches and how the students behave.  So I went to my Friday 3 pm class and 38 people were there. The substitute, a fellow from Bangledesh with Canadian citizenship taught as I listened then I introduced myself and asked them some questions. All were Kazkahs except one Korean. Three had been to the States, they seem like nice kids. I get a reprieve in that there are only two class days next week, then a big vacation.  I however got saddled with another section of introductory economics, and with two sections of macro, I have 280 students, a total of 4 (50 minute) hours of standing on MW and two on F.  It will be a semester of learning how to teach introductory economics sitting down.

I am impressed by the place. The library has a recent journals section, where one can go and just read. There are several Russian economics and Kazakh economics journals in Russian.  Classrooms are well equipped and I have a desktop and flat screen, and HP printer all of my own. It is sunny and probably in the high 70s or low 80s.  Lots of traffic out the window on Abai, but I need the window open for ventilation. I think I need a fan, pictures on walls, to make it livable.

1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Kazakhman said,

    Nice writeup.
    I guess you teach at KIMEP.

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