Excuse Me, Can You Tell Me Where.....
Trip Start Jan 08, 2005
13Trip End Feb 12, 2005
The next morning after a good breakfast, I headed off to try to secure a Krygyzstan visa. This was supposed to be a relatively simple process and I was thankful that my travel agent advised me of the new address on Luganskova Street near Hotel Kazakhstan. So I headed off thinking it would be a simple process, especially after having been given further details from my agent. It was pleasantly cool morning with a 1-2 inch layer of snow on the ground. So once I found Hotel Kazakhstan, an easy process, I started to scour for the consulate
From there things were much more positive. After filling out the application and chatting a bit with the friendly consulate man and paying the somewhat hefty fee, I was given my one week visa. Thank goodness! This is just another joy of dealing with visas.
From there, I headed to meet my "travel agent" at the Soccor Boy restaurant. David doesn't really have an official office in Almaty which gives you an idea how this guy operates (SanTours focuses on travel in Central Asia). But he is extremely, friendly, helpful and efficient which is all I was really concerned about
After stopping into a internet cafe which was really a modern and large online internet gaming place for students (quite the impressive place but there were some terminals for e-mailing too) I headed to check out the main downtown park, Panfilov Park. The wooden cathedral was quite pretty and it was nice to see people feeding the pigeons and strolling around despite the snow and coolness. The fact the sun was out helped make things feel much more cheerful. However, as I turned the corner to the backside of the Cathedral I was surprised and saddened to see a number of probable pensioners sitting and begging for loose change. This reminded me of scenes I had seen in Belarus and Russia where the old people are being forgotten and are truly suffering. So it appears that even though Kazakhstan has broken itself from the former Soviet Union, many of the conditions still remain and are very similar.