More beauracracy to deal with, wonderful!
Almaty Travel Blog› entry 336 of 658 › view all entries
People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Juliana (Russia), Hannes (Sweden)
Our train arrived into Almaty 1 Station half an hour late, around 13.00. This station is about 10km North of the centre, so we planned to jump on a bus to Almaty 2 Station and then find a Babushka from whom to rent a flat. There were a host of women hovering around Almaty 1 though, and they were offering two bedroom apartments for 4000 Tenge ($33), which was reasonable value. After 5 minutes of bargaining, we agreed to rent a place from a woman called Rosa. The price was set at 3500 Tenge ($29) and also included baggage storage for 3 days, which would save us 1800 Tenge ($15), so it was a really good deal for us, even if its location wasn't perfect.
One advantage of staying where we were, was that everything seemed to be cheaper in this district. A small eatery that we found served up a cutlet with grechka, a kind of porridge, for 150 Tenge ($1.25), which seemed incredibly cheap by Kazakh standards. Once we had eaten, we found a stall selling whole grilled chickens for 400 Tenge ($3.30), so we snapped up 2 of these. Hannes went back to the flat, whilst Julia and I had some stuff to do in the centre.
Bus 2 ran from Almaty 1 down to the South of town, where the Kyrgyzstan Embassy is located. Just as it was about to depart, a policeman boarded the bus. My heart sank, i was going to get busted. The cop sat in front of us, so we just kept silent. Julia put her MP3 on and pretended to sleep against the window, whilst i clawed for my MP3 in my bag and then sat there silent.
At the Kyrgyzstan Embassy, i was thinking that they probably hadn't given me my visa, as they had done everything else wrong. Happily my passport was filled with the relevant sticker, which was a generic copy and had my passport number and date of entry written on in pen. It is something that would have taken them 2 minutes to do, i chose to be pleased that i had it, rather than get into a useless discussion about their inept service.
It was another sweltering day, so we went and sat in a cafe and drank some coke and played some ludo, before popping into an internet cafe to do some more research on some areas we were going and to see if we could get hooked up with any more couch surfers sofas! Final stop was the supermarket, to stock up on provisions for our 3 day trip to Bolshoe Almatinskoe Lake.
It was 21.00 by the time we finally got home and i was thoroughly exhausted. We cut up one of the chickens, boiled some potatoes and made some salad for our Dinner. After this we sorted out our day packs and made sure that we had everything that we needed, before crashing out at midnight.
The following day began at 08.30 and after we had handed the keys back to Rosa, we went to Almaty 1 station to book tickets to Lake Burabay for Monday evening. Thankfully we got 2 lower seats and 1 upper seat for the 30 hour journey North. Something to look forward to...
The last issue left in Almaty was to apply for my new Temporary Passport at the British Embassy. It took an hour to get down there on the bus and then a 10 minute walk and already the day seemed to be flying by quicker than desired. Thankfully i was in no hurry to receive the new passport, as we won't be leaving the country for another 10 days, because they said their machine wasn't working and they couldn't make the document at present. They accepted my forms and left me with my current passport, which at least saves me the possibility of getting aggravation from the cops.
From the Embassy we took a bus to the outskirts of the town and then changed to another bus that took us to Kokshoky, where GES2 Hydroelectric Station is located. This is the starting point for hikes up to Bolshoe Almatinskoe Lake, located in the Zailiysky Alatau Mountain Range.