Tag Archives: Kazakhstan

heartbreaker

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Last day, last bowl of noodle soup: Ever the connoisseur of good things, I had acquired a bottle of the V: I was going to drink some of it on the beach before my flight, but when I sat down to have my noodle soup, I was still sober. This was when she appeared: She […]


no ferry for bearded men

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I had wanted to take the ferry back to Baku, but it turned out to be too much of a hassle. One problem was that ships didn’t leave from Aktau but from some town about an hour away. Also, there was no ticket office. You called someone who knew someone, and they told you where […]


the watch is dead long live the watch

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Remember I told you about my trusted Garmin 910XT gps-watch that I have been using for six years now? I should say had. Had been using. Used to use. For today, on September 7th 2018, the watch finally died. It had been showing some signs of stress for a while now. Sometimes it would not […]


the whisper

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I was still waiting for my visa for Azerbaijan. And I was still in Aktau. I didn’t feel very sad or lonely anymore, though. Maybe a little, just a little. Anyway, I went out to the beach today: Rolled out my trusted bamboo mat, looked at the waves of the Caspian Sea, remembered a time […]


saved by the macaron

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Aktau was a fairly new town – like 19th/20th century new. Many buildings were from the 1960s and 70s, which meant they looked like this: Sometimes they had little shops in them: But there were also these fascinating ruins: Was it an old madrasa, like the ones I had seen in Iran a few months […]


the meteor

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There was at least one thing I liked about Aktau: The trash containers had separate spaces for plastic bottles. This seemed pretty sophisticated compared to what I had seen elsewhere on my walk. Apart from this pleasant discovery, though, I was miserable. People often asked me about loneliness. “Chris, don’t you feel lonely when you’re […]


keep calm and

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I woke up in an empty hotel on an empty beach. It was near an empty street: Aktau, it seemed, was a place without people. There was a small shopping centre nearby. I went there and looked around. Did I need a new notebook to write my diary? Maybe. There were some notebooks, and one […]


the dictatorship of the ticket

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Booking flight tickets is an act that makes you passive. You’re free to make all kinds of choices until you have your ticket. And then suddenly your life revolves around the time of your flight. You can still make little choices, if only to maintain the illusion of activity. But really you’re just passively waiting […]


sizes of things

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When I woke up, the train was still rumbling along: The kids had been quiet for most of the night, so that was good. The hostel I usually stayed at in Tashkent didn’t have any rooms, so I did what I had been wanting to do since I came to Tashkent for the first time […]


funny looks

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Had a burger today: A bearded dude in a chic restaurant having a fancy burger. Hipster status achieved? Then I went to the train station: I was going to board the night train to Tashkent (the one that I had taken in the other direction two months earlier), but when I got there, a group […]


some nerdy stuff about maps

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I went to a food court today: The above picture looks more fancy than it really is. The food is simple and cheap. This is what I got: Then I did something I had been wanting to do for a long time – I updated the Google Earth file: It’s strange to think that this […]


popcorn and lollipops

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Walked around town and tried to buy a train ticket to Tashkent today. It took a while until I found the right ticket bureau. I’d tell you which one it was, but I forgot. Ha! Anyway, Almaty was nice in late summer: Once I had my ticket I went to a large shopping mall and […]


fear smothered in cake

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I wasn’t going to fly to Tashkent if I could avoid it. You might remember how I suddenly came to the realization that flying was bad for the environment a while ago. But I hated buses. So I decided to go to Almaty and take a train to Tashkent from there. Only first I went […]


a ride through last September

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I grabbed my stuff and went to the bus station. Having taken the marshrutka to the Kyrgyz border several times before, I knew my way around pretty well. But I was surprised to find these posters advertising the border area of Khorgas (the one that I had previously crossed on my shitty little bicycle) as […]


tears of a hooligan

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Rain in Almaty: So I stayed in. And I learned two things. 1) Remember the big fat black cat Sarkozy, the one who had been my sworn enemy the last time I stayed here? Well, there were more of his kind now, and they were actually quite nice: 2) Remember the little kid from last […]


one thing bout tacos when they hit you feel no pain

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I arrived in Almaty at around nine in the morning: I went to the hostel where I had been staying almost a year ago. I was a bit worried that the people there wouldn’t be able to recognize me with my beard and all, but they just smiled and said: “Oh, it’s you!” Then they […]


meeting with me

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Went to Tashkent railway station today: In Uzbekistan, you are told to arrive forty minutes before your train departs. I usually try to be there at least an hour early. So I hung out in the waiting hall until the train arrived: I felt excited – how would our train pass the border? Would we […]


numismatics

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Back to Tashkent. I regretted buying plane tickets. There is a train from Tashkent to Almaty and back, a train which I should have taken. Better for the environment. Better for me. More stuff to see out of the window. Sometimes I am just baffled by my own ignorance. Anyway, here I was, with my […]


buffer day

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I had come to Almaty to get my new Uzbek visa, and that was it. But before, when I was still in Germany, and I didn’t know yet how long it was going to take, I had left an extra day before my flight back, just in case things didn’t go as planned. That day […]


another great success

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Today, after three hours of waiting and paying fees in different places like I had before in Bishkek last November and in Almaty this January, I finally got my new Uzbek visa: Considering that the last one I had gotten in Germany had only been granted for a mere 17 days, I felt very relieved […]