Yesterday I showed a photo that I took the other night of a beautiful sunset. Today I’ll show what it is like to have one’s car towed in new Astana, this was taken from our fourth floor flat looking west. We don’t have a car which is just as well because it would be an extra headache we don’t need. Ken used to “own” a Niva four wheel drive truck back in 1993-1995. He let me drive it once on the open highway so I can say that I’ve driven in Central Asia for about a half mile.
The public transport in Astana works just fine for now, though some of these drivers could learn to be less jerky when they swing into the bus stops. Also, I don’t look forward to the wicked winter weather and standing out in the frigid cold waiting for a bus. Where my new office is with my job, it is halfway to the airport about 3 miles from our flat. In this nice fall weather I may just walk this distance to see how long it takes me.
Back to my photo, I had never seen such a sophisticated way to tow an errant vehicle. What they did, with police swarming around the scene, was put something under each wheel and then hoisted it up and pivoted it to the truck’s flatbed. Not long after I saw the same tow truck drive by without the car on it so I suspect that they “gently” placed the car somewhere else a block or two down. You see, there was a crane digging up the pipe construction workers had laid last spring. I don’t recall seeing any postings saying “No parking” on such and such a day. I’m thinking that the pipe layers hadn’t planned ahead and so this Mercedes probably got off okay. Imagine though coming to where you THOUGHT you parked your car and not finding it there. Thus, the police were present and I’m sure once the owner returned, they asked for a sum of money to tell him where the car was located.
I’m including some other funky photos that I took recently in our neighborhood. Notice that camels and horses are BIG here in Kazakhstan.
Always good to see a new city in Kazakhstan outside of the two that start with the letter “A” Almaty and Astana. We almost got to see the very western city of Aktobe when Irina I flew to Kostanay on Thursday morning because we overshot (due to some mechanical problems). We sat as transit passengers in the Aktobe airport for 50 minutes. Once back on the Air Astana plane again we finally arrived to the Kostanay airport, very windy.
Later we found out we were NOT supposed to take photos of the airport, even the outside of it. I had wanted one photo that was on the side of a building that was very Soviet looking. It had metalic, giant sheaves of grain as an emblem depicting the wheat production known to the area of Kazakhstan. I would have liked to have taken photos in one of the libraries I stopped in looking for the Internet cafe in Kostanay but thought better of it. The librarians were so helpful and acted as if they had never talked to a foreigner before. Sadly the rooms and shelves of books were outdated, it was like stepping back into a time machine to the 1970s. I thought it NOT appropriate to take photos of that because the people who worked there might have felt ashamed.
Kostanay is close to the Russian border and walking around the city on our way to the Tsum department store could have been anywhere in Ukraine. The streets had trees that were fully grown (not to be seen in the new city of Astana), the buildings had the same architecture as anywhere in the former Soviet Union. I saw more Nivas, Ladas and other poor man’s vehicles in this town than the Mercedes, BMWs, Audis and Hummers you often see in Almaty. I bought three little plants I put in my carryon luggage that were much cheaper at the Tsum department store than any prices I had seen back in Astana, where things seem greenless, barren, and cold. Good memories of the agricultural area of Kostanay whenever I will look at my little plants growing and flourishing in our Astana flat. Check out the funny dress on the mannequin that probably sold for a LOT of money that no one could afford. Cell phones? They were “celling” them everywhere on the first floor of Tsum! I’ll stick with my old clunky Nokia phone that is about five years old.