Traffic, as it turns out, is fairly harmless in Almaty. Pollution aside, which is horrendous, the traffic flows fairly well through the rather spacious perpendicularly aligned streets. Since the earthquake towards the end of the 19th century, which pretty much wiped out the garrison town of Verniy, as it was known then, Almaty has been rebuild with relatively wide streets which cope with the traffic quite reasonably. I have read otherwise, so bear in mind that this observation merely reflects what I have experience in the two weeks I have been here.

Cars range from oldish to new and flashy – there’s quite a selection of Bentleys on the road (sold by a local dealer), you see a lot of Porsche Cayennes and BMW X5’s, I have already mentioned the ubiquitous Toyota Landcruiser Prado. Most of them are in good shape; the local attitude towards cars is closer to the French approach then to the German “my car is my castle” attitude.

The owner of this car will be getting a ticket, won't he?
The owner of this car will be getting a ticket, won’t he?

Driving behaviour in general is very civilised, even though I have no idea what the driver of this car thought when he parked it at the stairs.