Posts tagged Asian Games

Four Countries on the Astana River Ice and Opening Ceremonies

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.

Comments (1) »

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!

Leave a comment »