An Aktau Addendum

I feel an urge to make another post, which might be a silly impulse. The problem is, the next one is a major one. So instead, I’ll offer three images of Aktau which hadn’t previously made the cut. The part in which we look at World War II memorials.

Above is the main memorial. The panels featured above come together to make a yurt-like shape. Each panel features a year at war, and they surround the requisite eternal flame, pictured in the picture to the left. The marble base and various sloped ramps to the eternal flame have the awesome, if perhaps not foreseen, effect of being an awesome place for skateboarding. The local youths have clearly taken advantage. Next up (and there are only two) is the MiG monument, a tribute to the classic fighter plane. This one is definitely headed towards the radiant future.

MiGs actually make me think of my brother’s short-lived obsession with them, which originated thanks to some sort of History Channel special (this is, back in the days when the history channel actually covered history) on the MiG 15, which he was able to watch when we were visiting our grandfather in Puerto Rico. I actually have vivid memories of the day, for no real reason. My guess is that it was the trip we took when my grandfather was remarried, in February 1997, when I was in fourth grade. It was a rough time: my grandfather’s wedding meant that I would not achieve my perfect attendance record that year, a fact that I passionately (and tearfully) discussed with Mr. McSheehy, my teacher. To add insult to injury, the MiG 15 was pretty much all Daniel could talk about for a couple weeks. I was not amused. Here, we have another view of that sucker:

This time, the picture nicely illustrates that even through Soviet-era housing complexes still exist in the more posh areas of the center (though not the poshest areas, mind you), they’ve had a bright and cheery coat of paint. It was from here that we went down to take an actual swim in the Caspian (Mom: you would have been proud), before catching the first of the documented Caspian sunsets. Anyway, since I was in the mood, the post is here, and with that, I am truly ready for the next adventure: a glorious return to Astana.


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