Ups and downs...but mostly ups!
Trip Start Mar 10, 2011
5Trip End Mar 19, 2011
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Where I stayed
A place with no English name
To sum things up, the trip so far has been a mix of ups and downs, but mostly ups.
Ups: The people here are SMART. The agents I’m working with are super sharp, well-informed and very professional. The students are bright, inquisitive, and articulate. It seems like every person I’ve encountered here is well-educated, well-spoken, intellectual and knowledgeable about the world, about international education, history, current events. I’ve had many fascinating conversations with people here in which they express well-thought opinions, tell interesting stories, or discuss the cultural histories of their region. I’m so impressed with them.
Ups: The food is excellent, especially the dairy products as I mentioned
Downs: Certainly, the schedule has been pretty brutal. For the past four days, we’ve left one destination, arrived somewhere else in the middle of the night, and then began working the next day. Coming to Shymkent, we travelled all night. We left Atyrau at 11:00pm, and arrived in Shymkent at 10:00am, after two flights and a 5 hour layover in Almaty airport. I zonked out on a bench for nearly three hours there. We started working just an hour after arriving in Shymkent. And the type of work really requires your full energy level. I gave a presentation to an audience of almost 50 people that day, after travelling all night and sleeping on a bench. Brutal.
Down: The weather, at least in Shymkent, was supposed to be nice but turned out to be utterly shitty. Up until our arrival, it had been in the mid-70’s and sunny. When we landed, it was snowing heavily and just below freezing. I thought we landed in the wrong place! It snowed all day yesterday and just made things difficult and unpleasant
To end with a positive note, the hospitality in Shymkent couldn’t be beat. We had a very friendly personal driver to take us everywhere, the agents and their assistants took us to lunch and dinner every day and told me all about the food and the customs. The people here laugh easily, and share stories and ask many questions. With the local food and people being the two main highlights of my trip so far, I really couldn’t ask for much more from a nine day whirlwind adventure! Only a few more days to go. I promise my last days here will be full of excitement and great photos as I have big plans coming up….stay tuned!