One More Time Down South

in which I make my final run through Almaty this summer. I shall return.

My love for Almaty is already well-documented, so naturally, I was glad to have a second chance to swing through Almaty before I leave Kazakhstan (unfortunately in just five days).  Our time in Almaty was pretty rushed–we had some seven meetings in a day, which makes for a long day full of Russian, note-taking, and investigating.  Our first night, Erik, Deanna, and I ventured out to a local restaurant, which served up Kazakh specialties in a pseudo-outside setting decorated to look like a yurt on steroids.  I even tried camel’s milk, which I actually would recommend.  It was nice.  And they even had some Kazakh entertainment for us.

The next day, Friday (this was August 20, I might add), we headed out for our long string of highly-successful meetings.  When we were finally finished, around 6:30, Lena, Erik, and I returned to our hotel, and after a quick turn around, Erik, Deanna, and I were out the door and on to Kök-Töbe, a small park in the mountains adjacent to the city, which affords a lovely view of Almaty.

Deanna and I, right at sunset.

“Park” is perhaps a bit of a misnomer.  The “park” comes with some amusement rides, unusual monuments, restaurants, and souvenir shops.  Which makes it sound somewhat unappealing, but I assure you, the place is amazing.  For many reasons.  Such as this monument:

There is actually zero reason for the Beatles monument here. For the record. Which makes it even more awesome.

And all the better for people watching.  Deanna and I tried our best post-Soviet poses. With the flowers, of course.

And Erik and I had to give the roller-coaster like ride a try.  Especially once we realized we would be in individual tobaggons controlled by ourselves. Definitely worth it.

A "Sommerrodelbahn," though I feel like we lack a word for this in English.

As said above, the place is fantastic for people watching.  It is definitely not every day, I stand in line for French fries behind a man and his hunting eagle.

He told Deanna that he brings his eagle up there just because it makes people happy. He let people pet it. And even take photos with it. Reason 438 I love Kazakhstan.

As evening fell over the city and the night grew late, it was time to head back to the hotel.  But not before catching a final glimpse at the expansive city.

Though I was a bit sad to leave, I feel most confident that I will be back. Hopefully sooner than later.

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