Posts tagged Cannondale

Astana’s Blue Hue (Part Two)

Today Ken and I bought a new 21 speed bike at a bike shop named Belo close to the American embassy.  It came with a bell, air pump, water bottle all for $400. I insisted that we also buy a German made helmet because the drivers here do NOT respect pedestrians or bikers, there could be some close shaves where a helmet could save a life. The bike is a Fuji Odessa which seems to be a globalized bike, mass produced in Indonesia.  Fuji has the Japanese ring to it with Ukrainian name of a city off of the Crimean Sea. What a wonderful day to ride it home from the bike shop.  However, not so great to carry it up four flights of stairs yet it is too long to put in our lift.  So, part of the exercise regimen now for both of us is to bike and do stairs saddled with a bike. Also, we must learn to jump curbs because the sidewalks are not altogether biker or stroller friendly. We will share it for the mean time.  I would love to bring my GREEN Cannondale from home to here in Astana, Kazakhstan, it is much lighter.  We shall see.  For now, see how beautiful the blue skies are in our new town of three months.  You can see the regal Presidents palace, also another building that looks like a dog dish and finally a ram on the bridge that I crossed to get home.  Supposedly a Muslim country shouldn’t have any pictures of animals or people on billboards or statues but then again, this Central Asian country is a hybrid of that faith with a lot of the Soviet influence still in place.  

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Bleak Realities in “Hurramabad”



Our Internet is down at home, our heat is turned off, and my bike was stolen.  This is MY reality in Almaty, well, the first two are true.  Thankfully, the third concerning   my Cannondale bike being stolen was in my early morning dream this morning. How happy I was to wake up and realize that I’m getting more sleep to be able to dream despite a colder apartment and “loss” of a bike.  All central heating will be turned off throughout the city this week, spring has finally arrived!!!


Quick summary of my dream before I write some quotes from the book “Hurramabad” that is dealing with Tajikistan realities, published in 2001 by Glas New Russian Writing. [Hurramabad actually means the name of a mythical city of joy and happiness where there is always an abundance of fresh water and shade.]


My Dream:  Supposedly I had just attended a play somewhere in Minneapolis, in an old neighborhood I was familiar with and had biked to it.  [Perhaps I am thinking about a play because of the upcoming KELT production titled “David and Lisa”] After the play, for whatever reason I was taking my bike apart to fit into my car for better traveling. [dreams are like that, why do I have my car there if I biked?] Anyway, I went into the washroom for 30 seconds and passed a swarthy looking man in the hall who was just exiting.  My bike was supposed to be in the entryway upon my return but it was gone!!!  I ran out into the street and shouted “Come back with my bike!” “Someone stole my bike!”  That is when I woke up realizing that this book by Andrei Volos titled “Hurramabad” has had a bad effect on me. It’s dismal clarity about life in Tajikistan is like the American version of Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” but much worse!!!


When I was in Denver, I met an American woman from Boston who was at my presentation about Kazakhstan who had lived in Tajikistan for about a year before the revolution, I believe 1993 or 1994.  I know the Tajiks have a lot of sad history and currently their country has about as dismal a present, what of its future?  Apparently, Volos, who is a Russian wrote this kind of masculine book telling of his being uprooted from Tajikistan in the fictional stories he presents.  The titles of his vignettes are the following:  1) The Ascent; 2) A Local Man; 3) Sammy 4) A Decent Stone for a Father’s Grave; 5) First on the List; 6) The House by the River; 7) A Foreigner.

(to be continued)

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Everyone Fun: Fireworks, Bonfire, Firey Sunset

In no particular order I’m showing the photos from yesterday’s family event.  Misha, my dear little nephew from Russia, went with me early in the morning to find the Habitat for Humanity bikers who are biking from East Coast to West Coast.  They got an early start so we missed them but I got a good laugh at how ridiculous Misha looked in my yellow jacket. 

We had the family come out to the farm for grilled chicken last night and had fireworks with a bonfire and SMORES, of course.  Misha was into everything from old farm equipment to the fireman’s pole which he ably climbed up and also eating gooseberries.  He was THRILLED to find our bush because he remembers loving them back in Russia where he grew up the first six years of his life in an orphanage.   When we were all played out, the family went back to town and I followed on my Cannondale.  Then I turned around to get a photo of the firey sunset above our farmyard, the sky kept changing and I kept biking.  A fun time was had by everyone.

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