Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Bridge

I went to Asia to meet Sandra for lunch today.  We went to Hugo's and had the business lunch.  I'm afraid that I may be getting used to oily soup!  I think I can now give you the recipe if you want to try it.  You take one chicken bouillon/stock cube which should make a pint of liquid, and add a pint and an half of water.  Cut a small potato (very waxy type) and a medium carrot and a small onion into small cubes (about 1/2 centimetre).  Add to the liquid and boil till very soft, about 30 minutes I expect.  Then add a tablespoonful or two of corn oil (to taste) and youave it.  It can be tarted up with with the addition of a few thin slices of cabbage added to the vegetables, and if you want to push the boat out a couple of small pieces of boiled meat or chicken turns this into a festive season menu item.  Adding an half tablespoon of tomato paste to the liquid transforms it into a radically different dish!

So that was the business lunch soup (without the extras), followed by a crab stick salad, which I am sorry to say, even when prompted by Sandra, I could not photograph.  It was just too sad...canned diced vegetables with runny mayonnaise (I think) and some small pieces of crab stick.  We each got about two tablespoonsful on a saucer and neither of us could touch it.  Two beef meatballs (which have overcooked rice in them for moisture) with three very small scoops of mashed-ish potatoes (no cream, milk or butter) and a tomato fluid was the main.  Sandra ate all of her's, further proof that she has "gone native".  Dessert was a ball of what looked like a chocolate brownie, topped with cream and a chocolate curl.  It was quite attractive, but it wasn't a brownie (neither of us could identify it...perhaps cake soaked in juice and compressed into a ball?), nor was it cream, and the chocolate may have been that laxative type.

Anyhow, I am supposed to be blogging the bridge!!

I walked back to Europe, as you can see from the by now familiar "monument" at the end of the bridge footpath on Satpayeva Street.  Satpayeva is the main raod from the airport into Atyrau and across the Ural, so it is fairly busy.  

After the road crosses the bridge it broadens and widens and it is also joined by three roads from the side.  So I suspect this was something of a suicide spot for people trying to cross.  So two years ago they built a footbridge over the road.  I think it is the only footbridge in Atyrau (except for the one over the river).  

On the top left you see it in all its glory, then the left end, middle section and right end.  Each end has two sets of steps up (but on the same corners!).  The bridge is covered and has blue glass sidewalls, but in the central part of the middle section there are also railings, for no obvious reason.

This bridge is two years old.  The steps are polished granite, which make them more dagerous than running across the road, when it is wet and icy, and the flat part started off as packed earth.  For the first year the footbridge was either mud, dust or ice, then it was paved.  

But the reason I am blogging about this bridge is that it is often the little things that really highlight the differences between cultures and lifestyles, not big things like religion or food.  

The pictures below show you some details of this two year old bridge.
I said to Someone that it was amazing that it was in such poor condition.  She said that it looked like this two months after it was built.  

And another thing, what happened to the street lights that were next to the bridge? 
They appear to have been chopped off, which says it all really.

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