Posts tagged Baiterek

Photos of Kazakh Places and Relics from the Past (Part VII)

The following are photos from Kazakhstan that show their potential for tourism, the surrounding area is beautiful.  The photos are taken from Martin Lee and are included in a calendar that is for sale at Eagilik book store and coffee shop, in the old part of downtown of Astana.

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Photos of Kazakh Places (Part VI)

The following photos are places or statues seen in Astana, Kazakhstan, the new capital of this vast country.  A very eclectic place to visit. These photos are taken by Martin Lee and are found in calendars which are sold at Eagilik, a coffee shop/book store and library in old part of Astana.

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Ryan’s First Impressions of Kazakhstan (Part VI)

The following are Ryan’s words, not mine.  Enjoy his summer perspective on Kazakhstan:

“We’ve talked a lot about all kinds of things and laughed more than any group of people should be allowed to. We’ve formed this cool family from all sorts of places: Two Kazaks, Two Dutchies, a Brit, and an American thrown in for flavor. Forming relationships here has been an honor. Hanging out with my friends ends up being a lesson in world culture/languages. For example, I learned how to say I love you in Dutch last night. It’s also interesting to note the differences that pop up in different types of English(e.g. trash and rubbish).

The Saturday we got here we went with Nick, some of his friends from Almaty who were here to celebrate his birthday, and his brother and sister in law to see a few of the sights in Astana. The big one that we saw was The Baiterek. It’s a Space Needle type structure and you can see all of Astana from it. You can also compare your hand size to the President’s. Regretfully, mine was smaller.

As we walked around Astana I was struck by the differences in Astana and Shymkent. Shymkent has a more real…earthy..feel. That’s not the word I’m looking for but it’ll do. Astana is pretty with flowers everywhere, beautiful buildings all over the place, monuments everywhere…very Capital feeling. DC feels the same way…like it has a pretty face because it’s supposed to because it’s the capital. It’s  manicured with streets that are much more empty than any I’m used to seeing. I don’t fear for my life (as much) when I’m crossing the street here. We actually crossed one street that we were able to stroll across because there was almost no one on it. I’ve seen the street a lot since and it’s never very busy. The Shymkent contingent was shocked. I had some great beef shashlik (kebob) that night.

Sunday night there was a combination house warming/birthday party for Nick. It was wonderful to meet his many friends here. I was really excited and honored to be able to celebrate his birthday with him considering I’d only known him about a day. He got some awesome house warming gifts. Monday, we slept in and relaxed. It was quite nice. Monday afternoon Rafhat (our friend and translator from Aktobe that speaks English in such a way that I thought he was a foreigner) decided he wanted to go to the American embassy and since it was quite close by we along with Elizabeth went to check it out. Unfortunately it was closed. I was really disappointed… they have this big embassy on a big plot of land and all the grass was overgrown. You’d think we could keep up our embassy grounds as the face of America?!

We spent the next few days working with our kids and avoiding getting sick. Except for Rafhat we’ve all been sick at one point or another. We got our introduction to work on Tuesday morning. Then Nathan and I went straight away to a home visit with a very sweet little girl. It’s unfortunate that she’s losing her eyesight along with the CP issues that she has. We tried some light sensory stuff in some of our sessions and got very little response.

One thing that being here has taught me though is that there is ALWAYS hope for improvement. She loves playing on these big physioballs that we have. We have a set of twins that both have CP which was fascinating to me. I have a friend who’s a twin that has CP but her sister doesn’t so I’d never met a pair that both had it. It’s really interesting to watch them do therapy together because they feed off of each other as we get them to do it (e.g. rolling a ball between the two of them). I love the fact that a lot of the therapy we do looks like we’re playing more than it does therapy but if you watch you’ll see very quickly that therapeutic methods are built into these fun games.

Take it from me…you have to make it fun for them or then it’s nothing more than exercise. Another child we had virtually no control over the movement of the muscles in his body and I was frustrated for him. We were trying to walk with him…and he was doing it…he was doing it…and then…his body freaked out and it was over. We have a lady from Iowa that’s working with us while we’re here. She brought this therapy tool that’s basically applied like a second skin and as I understand it, it controls muscle movement so that the muscles can be retrained into correct movement. You look like a member of the blue man group with it on. They’ve used it on a couple kids including ours with the movement control issues. It seems to help. The problem is that it’s not readily available here and rather expensive.

I also helped out on a session with one child whose CP issues seem very similar to mine. It was great because most of the kids here have CP that’s worse than mine so there’s a lot I can’t directly relate to…but with him…it was as if I watching a younger version of me. I also had a great conversation with one of the fathers the other day. We ended up talking about American hockey teams…don’t ask me how we got there. I love watching these kids exercise because I’m reminded of their potential that is so abundant and I have so much hope for them.

(to be continued)

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Summer Weddings and Astana Brides at Baiterek Mall

When living in the former Soviet Union one gets used to seeing Kazakh and Kazakhstani brides all decked out in western style wedding dresses.  They are driven in elaborately decorated limos going around the city accompanied by a motorcade of other participants of the bridal party identified by ribbons and streamers on their respective cars.  The wedding parties will go to different monuments in the city, show off their dresses while having photos taken of them with family and friends. You can have as many as ten brides in the same location, each vying for people’s attention. Right now in Astana, Kazakshtan, there are brides and grooms everywhere with the promise of future Kazakh children to fill the schools and universities being built up as I write this.

These photos of flowers which are landscaped and decked all around Astana were taken by my husband.  Enjoy the nice summer breezes as you look at these thumbnail photos. Better yet, fly to Kazakhstan (@ $2,500 round trip by Lufthansa from the U.S.) now while the temperatures are bearable. In four or five months it will start to be very cold again.  

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Astana city plan and “Charge of the Light Brigade”

As promised I wrote earlier that I would show photos of the 1:600 scale plan of the city of Astana, Kazakhstan.  I would use the adjective “ambitious” to go with this vision of the Kazakh government that was created by a Korean company in 2008.  Some of these buildings should be in place by 2030, some already exist and are easily recognizable to anyone who spends any length of time in Astana.  For me, it was good to see that the right bank is the old part of the city that was built up by the Soviets and the left bank is where all the governmental, new buildings and tourist attractions are.  I think if you take a map and go to Independence Hall to see for yourself, you will make sense of this city far quicker.  I wish we had done that over three months ago when we first arrived in Astana.  See if you can find the Baiterek, the Pyramid and the New University Astana in these pictures.

So, why do I also add “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Lord Tennyson which is memorializing events in the Battle of Balaclava in October 25, 1854?  I don’t know, but I like this poem after watching the film “Blind Side” starring Sandra Bullock. Blind Side was more than just an American football movie, it had some good literature in it that might relate to Kazakhstan.  Maybe not…

Half a league half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred;
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die,

Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash’d all their sabers bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army while
All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel’d from the sabre-stroke,
Shatter’d and sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder’d.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

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Hungry Buddy Bears Visualize “Whirled Peas”

Fun to show off what Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, has for its tourists this summer until the end of July.  At least 125 Buddy Bears are standing with arms up in the air close to the Baiterek tower, from as many different nations painted brightly with motifs or themes that typify that country.  I can’t understand the cubism of blue and beige squares for Canada’s bear I blogged about yesterday.  The U.S. bear shows the symbolism of the Statue of Liberty, which I featured several days ago on this blog.  Japan has the one red dot against a pure white bear and some other Japanese calligraphy.  China has a bear wearing a silk jacket with dragons on it.  I don’t understand why the Kazakh artist chose the blue colors to represent Kazakhstan but to each artist, his own. I was wrong about the one I have today that looks Uzbek, it is really from Tajikistan.

I am showing off more of these bears today, see if you can guess what country they represent.  Our bumper sticker of “Visualize Whirled Peas” got a lot of mileage where we used to live in Washington D.C. area when Ken and I were first married.  I could see people in my rearview mirror pointing their finger up and whirling it around and smiling as they imagined whirled peas or “world peace.”  Let’s visualize along with the Buddy Bears world peace with all nations.

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“Bearly” Recognizable Buddy Bears Promote Peace

These colorful bears that are congregated close to Astana’s Baiterek are “bearly” recognizable as to their origin of country.  The name plates below help reveal the artist and country with their respective flag. Other bears are easy to figure out, together they make for a brilliant display of diversity in unity with the United Nations thrust of countries working together.  Art is able to pull this off where politics normally collide. Maybe when we see the contrasts and differences in art, we can come to an understanding of our cultural differences.  Perhaps that is the main idea behind this exhibit.  The quote made by the great German born scientist Einstein that I spotted at the Buddy Bear exhibit said the following: “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”

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“Beary” United Buddy Bears Exhibition in Astana

Belonging to Astana’s International Women’s Club has its perks.  I received the following update on the Bear exhibition that I wrote about in my blog yesterday. This colorful display opens tomorrow to the public, but I was privy to it several days ahead of time because it is right in my own backyard from where I work.  I think I got some great photos yesterday of countries you will recognize.  If you live or are visiting in Astana, you must see them for yourself.

The “Buddy Bears” stand together hand in hand and promote tolerance and understanding among different nations, cultures and religions. Each bear represents a Member State of the United Nations and has been individually designed by an artist from that state. The „Kazakh bear“ has been designed by the prominent Kazakh artist Leyla Mahat, the „German bear“ by Frank Rödel.

Since 2002, when the first exhibition of the „Buddy Bears“ took place, more than 20 million people from all over the world had a chance to see them. The bears have travelled to all of the five continents. Thus, they have already been in Berlin, Istanbul, Tokyo, Sydney, Cairo and Buenos Aires. Wherever they were, the “Buddy Bears” became a special attraction and made the exhibition venue a place of interaction and meetings. Today, within the framework of the year “Germany in Kazakhstan 2010” 125 “Buddy Bears” will come to Astana, among them, of course, the bears designed by Leyla Mahat and by Frank Rödel. On invitation of the Akimat of the city of Astana, the “Buddy Bears” will remain until the end of July 2010 next to the Baiterek-tower. Visitors will have the chance to experience, how the interaction of different artistic styles creates one piece of art that spreads joy and promotes mutual understanding and tolerance. Each visitor of the exhibition will experience a small trip around the world, as each bear is individually designed in a manner related to his “home-country”. The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Akimat of the city of Astana have the pleasure to invite you, the interested public and representatives of the media to join the opening event of the exhibition “United Buddy Bears” on Saturday, 15th of May 2010 at 16:00. The event will take place between the Baiterek-tower and the National Archives, on “Nurshol”-Boulevard (former Vodnoseljonyj bulvar”).

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Very “Bear”able Statues close to Baiterek

Imagine my surprise this morning as I walked to work to see the ceramic bear statues being brought out of their crates and set up on their stands right outside of our office building.  I LOVE color and so today was a beautiful day to see all the nations represented by different artists’ paints that made each one distinguishable.  Some I can’t remember what countries they came from, others are strange, but others I can remember and appreciate why they chose the theme they did. I’ll show more individual bears in tomorrow’s blogs.  I don’t know how long this “bear”able exhibit will last, but I was told it came from Belrussia.  One would think it originated from Russia because Kazakhstan’s northern neighbor is known to be the “Bear.”

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Astana in Blue Hue

Yesterday didn’t turn out like I had planned at all.  I thought I’d be biking around the new part of Astana and taking in the sights of May Day.  Instead, I ended up making two batches of granola and one batch of chocolate oatmeal cookies and going to Metro shopping center (think BIG Walmart complex) with my husband and a broken pedal on a Nomad bike.  Ken and I later popped popcorn and watched a movie “Cry, my Beloved Country.” This is about South Africa and injustice that I couldn’t bear to watch several nights before.  I was too blue.  So, today I’m feeling much better, the weather has vastly improved.  Astana is actually showing signs of spring especially when I walked past the festivities at Baiterek yesterday, there were tulips pushing up from the dirt about 4-5 inches high, no blooms yet.  Glad the sun is out with the white puffy clouds, Astana is really turning into a pretty city.  The other photos are from last Sunday when I walked around the central city bazaar, note the shashlik stand and the nearby mosque, blue hue too.

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