Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kazakhstan, sublime mountains

Posted by Hippo Bean at 9:16 PM
Woke up this morning with no remnants of the cramps. Even though, I had just a lite breakfast of tea and bread. We walked across the street from our hotel to start our sightseeing. The Zhenkov's Cathedral rival St Basil's, but if you ask me, I found neither beautiful. Colorful and lego-like, but not impressive to me. A little further down was the War Memorial with a very ugly very soviet black monument of the soldiers bursting out of a USSR map. It's one of the ugliest monuments I've seen. I looked and looked but still couldnt tell it's the map of the USSR. Then we went up to the famous ice skating rink at the Medeo Canyon mountain and I hiked up all the stairs (once you scaled the first visible stairs, there were 2 more flights of stairs) only to found nothing worth seeing on top. We drove to the top of the Green mountain, the highest in Almaty, in order to take the Kök-Töbe cable car back down. Then the rest of the day was free. After the Islamic architecture and historic Silk Road cities of Uzbek and Turmen, sightseeing did seem to go downhill. Either I was already tired of traveling, or the sights deteriorated, I pretty much lost interest in sightseeing in Almaty. Even Jonathan confessed it was hard to find something interesting to see or do in Almaty. Almaty is a big modern city, with lots of up-scale designer stores. But we were hungry of souvenirs. The hotel told us to go to the pedestrian only shopping street and the Russian Zum department store which top floor sold only souvenirs. We couldnt find the pedestrian only shopping street. We did find the pedestrian only street but there were only a few cafes and no souvenir stores. The Zum sold only cheap trash. We were very disappointed with Almaty shopping. In the end I bought some good stuff at the souvenir shop at the hotel. The only other consolation was our hotel room had a fantastic view of the snow covered Tien Shan mountains, and at dusk while the top of the mountains turned pink and orange, a full moon rose. Kazakhstan is the biggest and richest of all the 5 stans, having natural gas and oil. And it offers great mountains and beautiful wild lives and scenery. However, Almaty offered nothing compared to the other Stans cities we've been.

almaty

Almaty photos

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