On ward trip to Almaty Kazakstan

Almaty Travel Blog

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Almaty war memorial Kazakstan

The next day we got up early and headed to the bus station and caught what we thought was a good bus.  Instead it took 8 or 9 hours, rather than 7 and the women and child next to me again vomited for the entire trip. 

 

We arrived at the bus station in Bishkek, very tired, hungry, thirsty, sore, smelling like vomit, and with hardly enough money to get into the next country as we had planned to do.  That was before that bus trip.  We didn't have much money so that we didn't get caught having to exchange a heap of currency and therefore get ripped off at the exchange.  Things were tight. 

 

We had 605 som.  We located a taxi and found that we didn't have enough money to get from Bishkek to Almaty in Kazakhstan, some 4 hours away.

Local hero Kazakstan
   We could afford a bus though, so we waited, and waited and waited and waited.  All the while practising our Russian with some 14 year old kid and a group of curious adult onlookers.  The deal was the bus would only depart if it had 4 passengers.  So Paul started walking around trying to solicit passengers for the trip to Almaty.  Several hours passed and no luck.  Finally we were offered a discount rate to actually hire the entire bus for the 605 som that we had, plus $10 US.  We thought about it and decided to go for it.  With the left-over money we had enough for a coke, some pop corn from the 14 yr old's pop corn stand and 1 cigarette. 

 

So we were off to another country having hired the bus.  We were off to Kazakhstan.  An hour or so away we crossed the border, which took less than 10mins, and no searching of bags.  Back into the bus and we were off again into the sunset that was Kazakhstan.

  The road was straight for hundreds of klms, next to flowing green pastures and mountain ranges full of green grass, yellow flowers and of course a little snow on top.  And what would the trip be with out a couple of near misses on the roads.  How many near misses can you have before an impact?  We've had more than your standard 9 lives. 

 

Night came and fell. 

 

We arrived in Almaty bus station at 10pm, which was not on any of our maps.  We had no money because there was nowhere to get any.  Fortunately, the money we had paid the bus driver included him throwing us in a taxi towards a destination that took some 20 mins to negotiate with a taxi driver by way of charades, hand signals, and the exchange of a cigarette.

 

We finally got dropped off along a dark street packed with people, and we located the address where this hotel should be, after 15 hours of travelling that day.

Gorky Park Almaty Kazakstan
  We knocked on a door only to be told the hotel had not existed for years.

 

We still had no money.

 

We showed a guy the visa symbol and he pointed towards some shops where we found a cash machine that accepted our cards.  Money at last; what a relief.  We then negotiated with another cab for 15 mins and got taken to another hotel which no longer accepted international guests.  Strike two.  We wandered around for 3 hours until 1am before finally finding a place, and although expensive we were happy to stay the night just to get off the street.

Zankov Cathedral Almaty Kazakstan
  It also happened to by the highest building in Almaty, some 26 stories high. For $56 US they also included a buffet breakfast.  For that amount they could have included lunch and dinner too I thought, with some live entertainment

The next day could not have been more different and has restored my faith in humanity.  Today the people we met were charitable, helpful, unselfish and best of all accurate with the information they gave to us.

 

We found a hotel close by for $8 AUD each with shared hot water showers, located a tourist office with people who knew what they were doing and spoke English, located the Mongolian embassy way out of town (we have to get a Mongol visa for the trans - Siberian trip later on), and found a place to get food and drinks and coffee, even a little pastry item.  All we need to do now is find a laundry service. 

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Almaty war memorial Kazakstan
Almaty war memorial Kazakstan
Local hero Kazakstan
Local hero Kazakstan
Gorky Park Almaty Kazakstan
Gorky Park Almaty Kazakstan
Zankov Cathedral Almaty Kazakstan
Zankov Cathedral Almaty Kazakstan
The local hero Almaty Kazakstan
The local hero Almaty Kazakstan
Almaty
photo by: Alfiya