Events in Astana (Part IV)

Yesterday was dedicated to our going to Independence Hall across from the Pyramid. I kept telling Ken that there was a city plan of all of Astana in this structure extending south of the Pyramid.  The entrance to the Hall that had been built up in just weeks several years ago, had arrows pointing to the south and not west, the entrance that faces the Pyramid.  Hundreds of workers were all over the grounds getting it ready for the real tourism season to begin.  Once we paid our 400 tenge each for our tour guide, we saw all levels of museum Kazakh artifacts from yesteryear, Kazakh carpets and vibrant paintings. And finally what Ken came to see, the floor plan of the city at a scale of 1:600 done by a Korean firm several years ago.  We did not see the 4-D film that was adjacent to the floor scale model of the city, I believe that shows the building of the Pyramid.  Another time…

Afterwards Ken and I went home to prepare for our Kazakh dinner guest, a friend of Ken’s from almost 20 years ago.  Always good to spend time with Misha (not his real name) because he is someone who knows 15 languages.  Even though he is Kazakh his first language was Russian and he had to learn Kazakh on his own.  Of course, his English is very good too, as is his German, Ukrainian and all the other languages he has mastered.  More on that conversation with Misha in a later post.

Finally, to get some exercise after our big meal, I went back to the Buddy Bears exhibit to take more pictures of people taking pictures and then walked towards the President’s Palace.  The sunlight was waning in the west and I was stopped by one policeman for my documents.  I smiled and said that I lived in Astana but I was being like a tourist because it was so beautiful outside.  This was all done in my very bad Russian, he smiled back.  I think I charmed him.  Noone around, perhaps even the president wasn’t in his residence so I think the officer must have been bored and just curious who I was.

Tomorrow, I’ll show you photos I took of the layout of the city, very ambitious plans! (The Independence Hall is closed only on Monday and from 1:00 to 2:00 for lunch all the other days, but opens at 10:00 a.m.and closes at 6:00 p.m.) Well worth the tour to understand this old and new city of Astana, the right and left side better.  I believe it should be mandatory for anyone who is planning on living here for any length of time.  Deboard the plane and go directly to Independence Hall…do not pass GO!

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