Posts tagged “Drinking Camel’s Milk in the Yurt”

Chapters in the new book “Drinking Camel’s Milk in the Yurt”

Drinking Camel's Milk coverI finished reading the new book “Drinking Camel’s Milk in the Yurt.” I found it fascinating that this little book has so many good themes to keep it together, but that is what Kazakhstan is all about. A huge, expansive country with intricately woven topics of human drama throughout, from Almaty to Astana to Atyrau.

One of my favorites to read was the very first chapter titled “First Snow” by Jacyntha England, it was the only one that made me cry. The generosity of the Kazakhs and their kindnesses that are so unexpected at times is what makes this huge country so enigmatic. There were a few other Kazakhs that were too shrewd for their own good, in other words, they were NOT kind.

Yes, I also liked the chapter titled “Dromophobia” about the gypsy cabs. I took this form of transportation all the time when I lived in not only Kazakhstan but also in Kyiv, Ukraine. It was like sneaking in hitchhiking which we would NEVER do these days in the U.S. Taking cab rides from total strangers was the natural way to go, very efficient rather than using the city bus system. Admittedly, I had seen noticeable improvements in bus transport over the years in Kazakhstan since when I first arrived in 1993 compared to 2010. Still, either walking or hailing cabs was the way to navigate in the big cities of Almaty and Astana.

The one final chapter titled “The Long Horse Ride” by two people was also a favorite for me and I read a part of it to two of my classes today. The reason was I have many equine science students and they could easily relate to how these two horse riders traversed the Kazakhstan deserts to reach a goal, a personal goal. During their long ride, they went to Aralsk and saw the dried up Aral sea. Also, they came close to Baikonur, the space station where Uri Gagarin had shot up as a cosmonaut 50 years before their arrival. They experienced the kindnesses of the Kazakh nomad and the loneliness of the open spaces, being protected from howling wolves and offered camel’s milk for nourishment.

I don’t have the book in front of me because I lent it to my mom to read. In any case, I liked the chapter about the American woman who went to Kazakhstan to adopt children or at least helped with those children who were in orphanages. That was touching also.

I sent an extra copy of the new book about Kazakhstan to my Minnesota friend Kim living out in California. She enjoyed reading the chapter about our conversation on the top of Kok Tobe. She claimed I wrote down accurately what we had discussed those several hours spent up on the “Blue Ceiling” of Almaty back in June of 2008. Of course, it helped that I went directly home and blogged about our talk soon afterwards. Actually, I wished I had taken more notes while up on Kok Tobe during our picnic lunch because we talked a LOT more about different things concerning Kazakhstan and their illustrious people than what I actually documented.

Lesson I learned from that experience is to carry a notepad with you at ALL times. You never know when a well-informed interview might take place that will eventually find its way into a print edition of a future book. I had no idea that THAT particular noon day picnic what we talked on would become a chapter with other informative chapters in the book “Drinking Camel’s Milk in the Yurt.” Check it out on yourself, especially if you are interested in other cultures, especially this little known, tucked away one in the middle of Central Asia. May there be many more books such as these for future inquisitive souls.

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“Drinking Camel’s Milk in the Yurt” – newly released book

I’m extremely excited about this recently released book by Summertime Publishing for expat readers to learn more about Kazakshtan. I contributed a story in the second chapter of six chapters for this book. I’m awaiting my copy to come in the mail from the Italian editor, Monica Neboli. You can check it out for yourself by going to In the 196 pages, there are over 20 authors who have also added their experiences to this book. The chapters are the following: 1) The Arrival 2) Kazakhstan’s History and Traditions 3) Contemporary Living in Kazakhstan 4) Cross-Cultural Exchanges 5) Travelling in Kazakshtan 6) The Silent Steppe.

After reading the first chapter’s entry by Jacyntha England about “First Snow,” I was brought to tears. Ms. England does a good job of showing how the Kazakh people are kind and giving. That’s what I want to remember about the many Kazakhs I met in Almaty and Astana the three and a half years I lived in Kazakhstan. In this case, they welcome the vulnerable visitor who doesn’t know how tough the country can be especially with the first snow of the season. The empathy shown by an old man acting as a taxi driver to a woman who has just arrived from a two week vacation in Thailand is endearing. The warming blanket is the key ingredient in this story. Please check this book out for yourself if you want to learn how other authors portray this well kept secret of a country…Kazakhstan.

Drinking Camel's Milk cover

The following is a summary about this book:
The Republic of Kazakhstan emerged from the former USSR as an independent nation in 1991. It is one of the largest countries in the world and Astana, its capital, is one of the youngest (and coldest) capital cities. In this anthology of expatriate experiences in Kazakhstan, 24 authors from 11 countries show us this Central Asian country as they know it.

In Drinking Camel’s Milk in the Yurt, we travel to the country’s bustling, multicultural cities, to its rural homesteads steeped in rich traditions, and to the Kazakh Steppe, the vast open plain that has for centuries been home to a nomadic way of life. During the journey, we come to understand the importance of the yurt, or nomad’s tent, we are privy to a powerful reflection on Soviet-era labour camps, and we witness the build-up to a traditional Kazakh wedding.

In a variety of cross-cultural exchanges – some bewildering, some funny – we meet locals, try new cuisines, discover the work of a talented local artist, join one man’s quest for a unique piece of Kazakh furniture for his wife, and explore the steppe as it deserves to be explored – on horseback. More importantly, we are introduced to the warmth of Kazakh hospitality and we learn it is possible to survive the extreme temperatures of a Kazakh winter.

Whether you are an expat, a traveller or just curious about other cultures, Drinking Camel’s Milk in the Yurt: Expat Stories from Kazakhstan will introduce you to the Kazakh landscape, people and cultures as experienced by its expatriates – both those who are passing through and those who have decided to stay.

‘A unique exploration of Kazakhstan through the eyes of foreigners, Drinking
Camel’s Milk in the Yurt touches upon cross-cultural exchanges, city living, history, traditions, unexpected friendships, adventure and more. With a generous mix of light-hearted expat tales and reflective stories of adaptation and discovery, this anthology enthrals the reader from beginning to end. Neboli has perfectly assembled captivating stories of uncovering a land largely unknown and often misunderstood, while simultaneously exposing a beautiful destination where selfless hospitality, overt kindness and longstanding traditions are common threads that weave this vast nation together.’
– Alison Cavatore, Founder, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of Global Living

‘Twenty-four stories of impressions, memories, thoughts and emotions by expatriates in Kazakhstan – all topped with descriptions of aromas, flavours, colours and landscapes that trigger the imagination and carry one into this country straddling Europe and Asia…’
– M. Elena Spikermann, Literary Scout & Agent

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My “Kazakhstan” book will be out soon, check Amazon for details

9781909193239-Perfect V4s.inddI’m excited to announce that “Drinking Camel’s Milk in the Yurt” will be out soon, a gem of a book all about Kazakhstan. There are 22 co-authors and it was compiled by Monica Neboli, the Editor. Summertime Publisher takes the credit for publishing this little volume, the publisher is Jo Parfitt out of the U.K.  I can’t wait to read the other chapters in this book written by ex-pat authors from all over the world who “experienced” Kazakhstan.  Of course, I know what I wrote which seems over a year ago or more but happened even earlier while I was living in Almaty, Kazakhstan. That seems light years ago.

When I know more details about this book, I’ll let my blog readers know.  Much of the traffick that comes on this blog are here for different reasons, following different tags.  Hopefully many people will want to order this book from Amazon or get it electronically for Kindle or Nook once it is off the presses. So few books have been written about this enigmatic country.

I’m happy to also announce that I actually have a second new book coming out.  The other one is about the history of my hometown in Minnesota and is published by Arcadia Publishing out of South Carolina. I was the sole author of this book which is 128 pages and showing off 215 vintage photos with captions. I just did the finishing touches with the proofreader today and so that will roll off the presses by August 5th. Good publishing news!

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