Photos from Kostanay, Kazakhstan

Always good to see a new city in Kazakhstan outside of the two that start with the letter “A” Almaty and Astana.  We almost got to see the very western city of Aktobe when Irina I flew to Kostanay on Thursday morning because we overshot (due to some mechanical problems). We sat as transit passengers in the Aktobe airport for 50 minutes.  Once back on the Air Astana plane again we finally arrived to the Kostanay airport, very windy.

Later we found out we were NOT supposed to take photos of the airport, even the outside of it.  I had wanted one photo that was on the side of a building that was very Soviet looking. It had metalic, giant sheaves of grain as an emblem depicting the wheat production known to the area of Kazakhstan.  I would have liked to have taken photos in one of the libraries I stopped in looking for the Internet cafe in Kostanay but thought better of it.  The librarians were so helpful and acted as if they had never talked to a foreigner before.  Sadly the rooms and shelves of books were outdated, it was like stepping back into a time machine to the 1970s.  I thought it NOT appropriate to take photos of that because the people who worked there might have felt ashamed.

Kostanay is close to the Russian border and walking around the city on our way to the Tsum department store could have been anywhere in Ukraine.  The streets had trees that were fully grown (not to be seen in the new city of Astana), the buildings had the same architecture as anywhere in the former Soviet Union. I saw more Nivas, Ladas and other poor man’s vehicles in this town than the Mercedes, BMWs, Audis and Hummers you often see in Almaty. I bought three little plants I put in my carryon luggage that were much cheaper at the Tsum department store than any prices I had seen back in Astana, where things seem greenless, barren, and cold.  Good memories of the agricultural area of Kostanay whenever I will look at my little plants growing and flourishing in our Astana flat.  Check out the funny dress on the mannequin that probably sold for a LOT of money that no one could afford.  Cell phones? They were “celling” them everywhere on the first floor of Tsum!  I’ll stick with my old clunky Nokia phone that is about five years old.

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