Aktau and Atyrau on the Caspian Sea
Trip Start Mar 10, 2011
5Trip End Mar 19, 2011
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Where I stayed
I can't even remember
Dry, flat, bleak, colorless, windy Aktau. I'm glad we only stayed long enough to work the exhibition in the hotel, partly because of the uninspiring surroundings, and partly because the dark hallways and patterned rugs in our hotel reminded me so much of The Shining. I kept expecting to turn a corner to find Jack Nicholson axe-ready or the creepy twins giving me the evil eye. My co-worker's taunts of "RED RUM! RED RUM!" all day didn't exactly help.
Felt a little rusty at the expo, but lucky for me the interpreters were wonderful and by the end, they had memorized so much of the material, they hardly even needed me there at all
In Almaty, I commented on how I felt invisible. I've come to realize that people here assume I am Kazakh. Kazakhs look very much like half-Asian peoples, with very distinct arched noses with a high, prominent bridge, which I also have. I keep startling people--they speak to me in Russian or Kazakh and look quite confused when I reply in my American English.
Late that night, as jet lag hit me over the head like a ton of bricks, we boarded another red-eye flight to Atyrau, another city on the Caspian. The plane was awesome--a teeny little prop plane called the Fokker 50 (I'm not even joking. Dad, I knew you'd want the specs, so I Wiki'd it for you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fokker_50). I could see the wheel of the plane directly outside my window seat. To top it off, this Fokker was piloted by a man who called himself Juan Mohammed.
Today, I'm getting ready for another expo, and then we're off tonight to Shymkent. I think I actually get a day off, that's the rumor anyway. I really need it, my mind feels slow and cloudy from jet lag. Even the excellent Turkish-style coffee here can't revive me.
More to come,