Welcome to Kazakhstan PUNK!!!!!!!!!

Trip Start Jun 05, 2006
Trip End Jul 15, 2007

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

So its snowing today, it was snowing yesterday, and it probably will be snowing tomorrow? As a mater of fact it has snowed almost everyday since I entered Kazakhstan 10 days ago, and I am tired of being cold!

Oh My Sweet Kazakhstan!
Kazakhstan has been nothing like I originally expected it to be like. First of all I never expected life here to have as much of an Russian influence as it does. And secondly I never expected straying off into "eccentric" Central Asia would be a walk in the park, but to say our first week in this country has been a rocky ride would be a gross understatement. Within the first 45 minutes of crossing the border I was punched by a 300 pound Kazakh taxi driver after refusing to pay him a ridiculous price for a 5 min cab ride. That along with an incident 2 days ago when I refused to pay a crooked train official a bribe, I was almost thrown off a train into a sub-Siberian death. All of that on top of the countless run-ins with the evil Russian ogres that roam the country.... The below freezing temperatures have not helped to make things more enjoyable. Me and Weiner's first 10 days in Central Asia have been packed with lots of highs and lows. 

Kazakhstan is made up of an interesting bunch of people! I would say that the country is inhabited 85% by nice, friendly, warm, hospitable people and the other 15% is made up of "evil trolls" who disguise themselves as aging Russian women. Without a doubt they are the meanest creatures I have come across! They might even rival a Jr. high school lunch lady in "meanness." Remember in the school lunch room when you asked for an extra packet of ketchup to spice up your "meat loaf," how mean the lunch ladies would become? Well that is how mean these trolls are all the time. In all fairness to Kazakhstan and its people, more than we have found ourselves in the grasp of evilness we have found ourselves in the graces of some amazingly generous people! We have spent almost every night since we crossed the border from China in local Kazakh homes where the inhabitants have generously shared their food and their lives with us. One cannot begin to express how much these little things mean to us when trying to adapt to a strange foreign world in the middle of winter!

Things I enjoy about Kazakhstan
Mustaches are in fashion, beer is easier to come by then bottled water, small blond Russian ladies "floss" mouth fulls of gold teeth, Kazakhstan is the only country in Asia where I am never the only white guy on an entire train, and the Russian's love of cabbage, carrots, and potatoes gives a non-carnivorous Nomad such as myself countless food options!  

Meet the "Stan" family
Central Asia is the last frontier between Asia and Europe. Depending on how you look at it it either forms a land bridge or a barrier separating Europe from Asia. For the better part of the last 2000 years this part of the world has been shut off to foreigners, making it one of the least traveled parts of the Northern hemisphere and one of the final frontiers of the weathered traveler. Believe it or not we have not come across another person we have recognized as another traveler since we left Tibet well over 2 weeks ago. Central Asia was at one time a pivotal part of the ancient "Silk Road." If nothing else this place is on the brink of a huge change!All of the Stan's minus Afghanistan (the birth of the Taliban) were at one time part of the USSR.

Afghanistan (Has been in conflict for the last 28 years, so it is needless to say that it will not be a part of  the "Johnny Nomad Experiment" this time around.)
Kazakhstan (Much more Russian then I ever expected it to be. Freezing temperatures and vast amounts of nothing! It is a land of friendly people and evil Russian trolls!)
Kyrgyzstan (The next country in our world domination tour!)
Tajikistan (Because of its proximity to Afghanistan, visas, and the weather we are skipping Tajikistan on this trip.)
Turkmenistan (The country I am most excited about. It has been the North Korea of Central Asia until recently with the recent death of it's eccentric cult like leader. For the first time in decades Turkmenistan is open to travel!)
Uzbekistan (One of the most Islamic and untraveled of the Central Asian republics. Also just opening up to travelers over the last few years.)

What is in store for the "The Johnny Nomad Experiment" over the next few months?
As of now me and "Special Agent Weiner's" plan on crossing the border into Kyrgyzstan in the next few days, then winding our way down through Uzbekistan. After that part of the journey, on to the previously forbidden land of Turkmenistan. Currently, it looks like Iran will not make it into my route this time around so we will have to resort to plan B. Plan B is getting a boat crossing the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan. From Azerbaijan we will continue overland to Turkey via Georgia and Armenia then onto Western Europe!

"Although Kazakhstan a glorious country, it have a problem, too: economic, social, and Jew!" -Borat 

Your friend, doing his part for the cultural learnings of America for make benefit glorious nation of Kazakhstan ~ Johnny Nomad

Borat, Borat, Borat..................First off Borat is banned in Kazakhstan. Which I think is dumb because it was not even filmed in Kazakhstan, it was filmed in Romania. In the film he is not speaking Kazakh, he is speaking Hebrew. And last but not least, he is not making fun of Kazakhstan he is making fun of the ignorance of "redneck America."
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