Archive for January 30, 2011

Wonderful Skating on the River in Astana

We had four different sets of people who came over to our flat yesterday so today was my chance to break out and enjoy the wildly cold scenery on the old part of town.  This was close to Eurasian university and the sports complex close to the river. I hadn’t skated since I was at Medeo in Almaty several years ago. Before that, it was many years ago that I had last skated.  The wind was bitterly cold from the west this morning and so it was more prudent to keep moving on skates than to sit.  It is all about lacing up correctly and having the right number of socks on.  Especially true if you are a size 39 but the skates are 42.  Next week we will do the same, skate on the river and then warm up with tea or coffee somewhere that is open afterwards.

We heard the ice crack which is never a good sign if you are on the river but the depth of ice must be at least a meter or so.  Still it was a little unnerving.  I wanted to try my cross hatches going forward and backward but I didn’t dare too much. I did skate backwards and it was fun to let the wind just move you without exerting any energy. I felt with all my bulk that I was wearing that if I fell, I would have a hard time getting up. So, I did not fall, not once!  What fun to see the other three skater, we had the ice all to ourselves. When I have photos, I’ll put them up maybe tomorrow. Just a matter of downloading them from my camera.  My clunker cell phone didn’t like the cold weather either, once I got in the taxi again it was responding very slowly to all my commands.  My chocolate chip cookies were also frozen.  And we were skating in this weather?

Yes, the Asian games are going to be in full swing tonight with the opening ceremony at 6:00 p.m.  Reportedly there are 1,500 volunteers here in Astana and 3,000 in Almaty.  Supposedly there was not a need for all these volunteers but they got a whole wardrobe of jacket, pants, scarf, backpack, shoes, gloves all in RED.  Wow, who underwrote the cost of this, just in the outfits alone? Never mind the big sporting complexes that were built quickly for such a time as this. At this rate, there will be more volunteers than participants in the games and sporting events.

I’m glad I have tickets to the women’s figure skating this Friday and will be sitting in the new stadium that looks like a bike helmet, the kind Lance Armstrong would wear as a cyclist.  Yes, this is a GREAT show that Astana and Almaty are putting on for their foreign guests.  I hope all goes according to plan and that there are no unfortunate accidents.  Really, when it is THIS cold, that feels like an “accident of Nature” to survive the way it is!

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