Monday, November 14, 2011

Walking to Asia AGAIN

On Thursday the 10th of November it snowed for about 12 hours...all day long. As the temperature was right around freezing the snow didn't settle at first.  But after a few hours it just seemed too much and it started to accumulate.  This was the view from the apartment window

In the afternoon I walked up to Ram Store, this was the view of the mosque and Ardiger is the big shadow behind it.  We had a good snowfall for this desert region.

In Atyrau about 15 years ago there were only a couple of paved roads.  Now the whole town is paved.  About two years ago there were very few paved side walks, but they have been building them most aggressively as explained elsewhere in this blog.  So now there are side walks along all the major roads. The problem is that they don't seem to be constructed with any real consideration of rain and melting snow are a walkers curse.

Looking out of the window on Friday morning (above) you can see the melt has started.  And I am due to go down there and walk over the bridge to a restaurant just on the other side (in Asia) to meet Sandra for lunch.  As you can see the route is not immediately appealing.

 As one approaches the bridge one comes across one of four little monument things marking Europe and Asia, they are on each side of the road on each end of the bridge.  They are all the same except the labels, the Europe monument...I don't really know what to call it... is below.
The  footpath over the bridge was icy packed snow making the walk slow and dangerous.  The picture below is looking back to Europe, the Marriott is the tallest building.  The building to its left is the office building headquarters of Agip.  The foot bridge was built about two years ago over Satpayeva Street.  I will do a blog on it later as it is quite something to 
 behold, and example of how construction "ages" in this part of the world.  The Ural river has not yet started to freeze but it looks suitabley cold and uninviting, except to the fisherman.  One of the other visiting male spouses (there are 3 of us) comes from Texas.  He had brought his fishing pole and had been fishing down on the river.  Unfortunately he didn't realise he needed a licence and he got accosted by the game warden or equivalent.
 He had no Russian and the warden had no English, but he was given the wardens phone and the person on the other end suggested that he might like to give the warden a "gift".  Unfortunately he had no Tenge, and no phone of his own to use to call security, so ended up reaching an agreement with an adequate gesture of US dollar...but I digress....ahead is Asia.

On the left of the building below is Sancak, the Turkish restaurant where I was due to meet Sandra.  She was late so I wandered around waiting for here.  There is always something to entertain and amuse.

Below is the are six shots I took of the side-walks outside Sancak, as you can see, drainage is not a strong suit.
I then started looking at the lamp-posts.  They are made of concrete and they are all painted at the bottom.  There is a white bit, then a ring of Kazakh blue (it is the colour of the flag and used everywhere) and on this ring are painted fleurs de lis.  I have no idea of the significance, they are not particularly finely painted, and it would seem to me an unnecessary maintenance challenge, but there they are....
 Notice the Nurbank sign on the right post.  Admire the quality of the wiring!  The roundabout at this junction is a big and fairly busy affair. with about 4 or five lanes going round it. There is a spiky statue in the middle, a sort of mini Place de la Concorde but with a confusing right of way system designed to cause collisions.  I am particularly intrigued by the van with advertising hoardings on its side which is parked with no driver in the middle of the road leading into the roundabout.  I wonder if they have permission to park it there or how that happens.  
 I have said in an earlier blog that there are whole gangs of tree painters devoted to painting the bottom meter or so of the trees, all the trees no matter how small or skinny, white.  I thought this looked particularly unusual when they had snow piled round the base and also sitting on the top.  

Mercifully Sandra arrived before too long, thus sparing you a protracted expose of the odds and sods that I found amusing outside Sancak.  The picture on the left was taken this summer inside Sancak.  They make (top picture) a very good type of thin Turkish bread (bottom picture) which we have with kekabs that are cooked to order on a charcoal fire (middle picture).  I like Sancak but they do not serve alcohol so it is not a place we go for dinner.  

After lunch we walked together towards Sandra's office.  She went back to work and I went on to Rahat Market to shop.

When I finished shopping I called a taxi and went out to wait in the car park outside.  I couldn't help but think about waiting in the Safeway carpark in Sonoma.  It is a bit different.
The blue awning (bottom left) is an entrance to the market.  

After   couple of minutes my "taxi" arrived.  You can see why Landcruisers are the vehicle of choice.
The map below shows the route of my walk to distance...about 1 mile.

1 comment:

  1. Nice article! How long are you in Atyrau? How do you find this city in total? Below I want to explain about the painted lamp-posts and painted trees...
    * The signs in the bottom of the lamp are the ornaments of our kazakh culture and it represents our kazakh art.
    * A painting in the bottom of the trees are to protect them from vermin...This paint consist of something that kills the vermin.

    from Atyrau, Kazakhstan