Arrived. Pretty much in time and in one piece. Pick-up has been arranged by the hotel, the driver has been waiting patiently until our last piece of lugagge arrived. And now we’re on the way to the center of town, with Modern Talking’s “Cheri, Cheri Lady” blaring out of the car’s sound system. Thank you, Dieter B.

Otherwise arriving after midnight’s a bit of an anti-climax. Cannot see much, either. The road into town is lined by various car dealerships from Toyota to Bentley. Billboards tell us “Life is Good”. Not much traffic on the road, so life’s not bad, at least. Let’s see, what our hotel is like – the Holiday Inn Almaty.