Caspian Sunset II

Our last night in Aktau, complete with a gorgeous sunset and a lovely fish meal.

We pulled into Aktau just as the sun was setting, and our driver drove us through the newest, glitziest part of the city in order to drop us off where the shore was at its nicest, at least in the urban area of the city (there are apparently sandy beaches outside the city). Like many cities in Kazakhstan, Aktau is divided between its poorer areas, where Soviet-era buildings are left in their decrepit, decaying states (where we were staying–oh, was our hotel a dump!) and their new, modern oil-funded city centers, filled with luxury hotels, trendy cafés, and newer architecture, aimed at expats and the wealthy. The coast stands somewhere between, though was especially nice where we were. We took lots of pictures as the sun set below the horizon. Beautiful!

On the recommendation of some locals we met, we headed further up the coast towards a restaurant with more moderate prices than the ones immediately in our vicinity. The view from the cliffs:

The restaurant we were headed to was recommended for its seafood.

Since we had been eating mostly shashlyk (meat cooked over a fire/hot coals on sticks), it felt appropriate that we should at least sample local specialties. The restaurant as we approached:

The prices, though far higher than anything we had paid in previous places, were reasonable enough, and we decided to even include a $10 of “Soviet Champagne,” made in Kazakhstan of course. Sometimes, you just do these things.

The spread.

The fish was really great. This was mine:

It was really the perfect way to conclude our time in Western Kazakhstan.

After dinner, we returned to our hotel, where we caught a few hours sleep before our 5:30 am departure for the airport to catch our 7:20 flight to Astana, happy to have had a wonderful experience in Kazakhstan’s far West.

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