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Gorky Park

Almaty – Day 9 – Idiosyncrasies


Having spent more than a week in Almaty now, albeit with a limited set of experiences due to having to spend my time with other things than exploring the town and, for that matter, Kazakhstan, it is time to share a few observations.

Online banks: I thought online banks  were virtual organisations only present in the internet. I remember when Egg started business in the UK – I was quite attracted by the idea of having a lean easy bank that does what I want it to do: take care of my money, give me access to it when I need it – and all of this without having to bother to go to a high street branch. It seems there is a bank around here, that does not fit my understanding of an online bank:

Online bank? Doesn't look like it.
Online bank? Doesn’t look like it. Seen in Almaty.

The photo isn’t very good, but I think you’ll see the interesting bit all the same. Puzzling…

F… the system: I am so glad, that virtually everywhere we can find people who feel that they have to publicly express their differentiated view on this world. Should you have read Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s book, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, about the Soviet labour camps – he is describing his experiences in a Kasakh Gulag close to the city of Karaganda – you might have been shocked by the stories of completely innocent people having to go through the unthinkably cruel life in the Gulag. Now, I am not saying that somebody who quintessentially damages somebody else’s property by spraying stupid statements, in this case without even the faintest trace of artful aesthetics, should spend years in the Gulag. But, whoever the brave sprayer was, he would have been much braver had he done his work during the Stalin period. Which, thankfully, has been over a long time.

F.. the system, the sprayer says.. F... the sprayer, I say.
F.. the system, the sprayer says.. F… the sprayer, I say. Seen on the way and close to Gorky Park.

Almaty – Day 8 – Reflection


Back to the treadmill it is. I don’t like Mondays. Which is actually not true; I don’t have a special like or dislike of any day of the week. And the treadmill is not so much a treadmill but rather enjoyable: how many people have got the chance to work on an exciting project at an interesting place like I have now? Alas, this is not about work, this is about, ehem, well, just rambling on in public, really, isn’t it?

Almaty's Gorky Park - probably not a great difference to any other Gorky park in this world.
Almaty’s Gorky Park – probably not a great difference to any other Gorky park in this world.

So, we had a good stroll in Gorky Park on Saturday and explored all the roundabouts and carousels and pools that are there. Unfortunately the weather was rather bad, so everything was closed (not that I knew whether it would have been in operation if the weather had been good), but it is a pleasant park with some quiet areas and  a large section which is clearly kids paradise.

What did Mom's do before the smartphone? God beware, they might have interacted with their offspring instead of sending text messages.
What did Mom’s do before the smartphone? God beware, they might have interacted with their offspring instead of sending text messages.

A few kids we saw, and we saw them in a familiar situation – probably known around the globes: kids play, mother focusses on her smartphone. While this might not be particularly interesting it just shows the normality of Almaty in Kasakhstan – just like anywhere else in other parts of the world that consider themselves civilised. I am still stunned about the fact that I hang out in this place and feels so normal. However, it is a bit of a melting pot with people from all over the ex-Soviet-Union and Asia with no (at least visible to me) difference between people. One is almost tempted to describe that as tolerant where it is just pleasantly normal. I like it.

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