Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Pipes...and Trees

I am fascinated by the pipes.  They are all over Atyrau, large and small, over ground and underground, insulated and not, painted and bare.  It is the hot water distribution system.  (Gas is not piped, when required for cooking it is delivered in cylinders.)  They put bends in the pipes presumably so they can expand and contract with some bending and not cracking.  In summer it can be over 40C and in winter, almost -40C so there could be a problem!

Anyway, this is what I am talking about...

And then there are the "trees".  This is not a very tree friendly climate with those temperature extremes and being on the fringe of a dry desert.  In fact there seems to be a growing use of artificial grass to cover bits of ground where real grass has and ground cover refuses to grow.  It looks fine, and does the job.  From a distance one can even pretend or imagine it is real.  But not the trees!

Somebody seems to have sold someone a large number of fake trees which seem to be "growing" around the large residencies.  These trees are metal structures swathed in some sort of brown plastic and bolted to the ground.  They come with red white or blue "leaves" which either droop or rise.  And here is the best bit....the leaves contain little lights which are illuminated at night.  So they glow brightly red, white and blue through the night.

This is a view out of our window, looking down on the pavement in front of the Ardager Residence (home apartment block).

Notice the beautiful manicured lawn!  Now for some tree close-ups....

And there are more trees popping up all the time.  The only difficulty might be that construction (or partial construction) seems to be more the order of the day here than completion and maintenance, and there seem to be a awful lot of light bulbs to keep operational.  In fact the other day I saw my first dead branch.

Andthis is an attempt to show the night-time effect...

And to finish, a couple of sights that caught my attention yesterday.  

When I stepped out of the apartment, right in front of me were a couple of people painting the curbs.  Two things puzzled me.  Firstly, the difference in their attire.  One seemed to be wearing radiation protection and the other had gloves.  Secondly, the "paint" seemed to be the consistency of milk, and was about as effective. 

And then as I was walking along the main street of Atyrau, Satpayev, I came upon a street cleaner, face swathed in cotton gauze and behatted, she (I think it was a "she") she was working alone with only another 6km and 3 edges to go.  I hope she has more brushes.

That's all for now.

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