I don’t mean the Asian Games, it was just four of us skating yesterday morning, enduring the cold elements on a Sunday morning. We represented four countries on the river ice close to the Eurasian University: German, Dutch, American and Kazakh. The Asian Games Opening ceremony was last night at 6:00 p.m., so this staged event is a VERY big deal for Astana. (Almaty is included in this as well). Supposedly there are 1,500 volunteers outfitted in these red uniforms in Astana and 3,000 in Almaty. They are easily identifiable everywhere with their backpacks and snazzy outfits. Hard to know what to believe about all this money being poured into the volunteers outfits, they have invested a LOT in the actual buildings where the competitions will take place.
However, as I understand it, the traffic was jammed around 4:00 or 4:30 yesterday afternoon because one of the bridges was closed off from the old part of Astana to where the event was held. I’m glad I stayed put last night. This morning it was extra busy on Kabanbai Batyr street, to make the turn left took about 5-6 lights. I love saying “Prop-key” to any taxi driver I might have on any given work day morning. I said this to my favorite taxi driver, Yerik. He seemed a little peeved about the traffic jam delay because he had another customer named Laura waiting for him who lives at the Diplomat hotel area who had called him just as I got in his taxi. Of course, Yerik is ALWAYS happy to take me to work but today might have been an exception, many tourist busses and police out and about.
In fact, when I left the university at noon, on a Sunday, the buses were not running as regularly as they do during the week. Many guards are currently at each bus stop in their blue camo uniform trying to stay warm during this week long Asian Game event. I was about to take a taxi back into town but the guard said, “chazs” which I took to mean, “shortly” or “now.” In the context it meant, “wait a number #10 will come soon.” Sure enough it did. I feel sorry for these uniformed guys who are out standing in the cold making sure nothing “funny” happens. Wouldn’t it be something if they had little skating rinks at each bus stop so that the guards could at least skate around and stay warm? I know, that is thinking way outside the box but it is always good to keep moving in this frigid weather. I can’t wait to go to the women’s figure skating this Friday, that should be good to witness. Enjoy the photos from yesterday’s amateur skating.