Archive for May 22, 2010

Events in Astana (Part III)

I don’t know what the winged horses or the star on the top of the monument mean as you take the roundabout close to the airport, south of Astana.  Oh well, lots of things I don’t know or understand in this new city.  Next Wednesday, May 26th I’ll give a talk to the Astana International ladies group which meets monthly at the Radisson hotel.  About a year ago I had three of my former university students share with the Almaty international women’s club about their Kazakh grandparents.  I blogged about it and have photos to show of these special young women. Since I live in Astana now I only have their powerpoints to show, but I know it would be much more meaningful if the actual girls could tell about their grandparents themselves. They have emotional stories to tell, such as Aray’s great, great grandfather was the well-known Abay, Laura’s grandfather survived Siberia for 15 years and Aida’s grandmother survived 10 years at the labor camp for USSR women, ALHIR which is only about 10 miles outside of Astana.  So, it will be fun to share the information I have gained from my former Kazakh students with other expat ladies who may not have heard any of these stories before.

Today I want to go to the national museum (looks like a bullet) that is next to the National library, if it’s open.  I also want Ken and I to adventure over to the Independence Hall that has all the blueprints for the rest of the city of Astana spreading south towards the airport. I saw from the vantage point from the top of the Pyramid how there are still small homes and dachas that are beyond the Music Conservatory and Independence Hall.  That will eventually be developed into high rise apartments and probably more office buildings.  But for now I just want to imagine what it will look like close to the new university of Astana, looking at the blueprints and miniature model of the city will help.

Yes, if you want to do something in Astana while the weather is warm, you have to initiate it.  I would love to go to Boravoy which I’ve heard is a beautiful, hilly place with a lake. Many people from flat Astana like to go to Boravoy the 3 hours by car away for retreats.  In Almaty, you didn’t have to go too far to get away from the city, but Astana is fairly isolated and far from anything scenic.

Look at the photo I took on the top tier of the Pyramid, it looks like an eerie simulation of real life but it is of real people who were part of our ladies group tour. However, the larger than life doves are painted into the glass.  Seeing these doves reminded me of an artwork with an overhanging cage or net and trapped 15 doves at the ALZHIR museum. That was meant to depict the 15 republics of the USSR where many of the wives of the Enemies of the People were punished. All the symbolism, all the parallels are hard to keep track of in this new city of Astana that yearns to be significant to the rest of the country as its new capitol.

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