Thursday, June 20, 2013


A Presidential visit to celebrate first oil is on the cards for Atyrau.  And according to The Independent Newspaper he will have company!

Obviously Mr Cameron has been learning a trip or two from Mr Blair, and has decided a bit of Networking could bode well if his retirement retirement from politics is brought about by the Boris Boys.

Anyway, Presidential visits are good for Atyrau because it means a flurry of activity on the cleaning, mending and painting front.  In fact, the astute predictor will be aware that as soon as work begins on Satpayeva Bridge the town is due a VIP visit.  And work began a few weeks ago as I arrived back.
But this time the bridge work is not a casual coat of paint like last year (this blog has pictures of a man spray painting himself and the railings last summer).  This time it is a major job with the white barriers being stripped of their plaster covering and then repaired, filled, sanded and hopefully sometime soon, painted.  This effort has been going on for nearly two months now with varying numbers of people at it.  The plaster layer was all chipped off by hand using tools they use to chip ice off the sidewalks in winter, and scrapers.
But what has impressed me the most is that the sanding has all been done by hand, just pieces of sandpaper and no power tools.  The evidence can be found along the footpath.  

There has also been extensive sidewalk repairing activity underway.  This usually happens over the summer months so I am not sure how much of this is VIP visit inspired, but I suspect that the activity all along Satpayeva, which is the main route to Airport Road in not entirely coincidental.  
Repairing the sidewalks
I also notice that the curbs have all been painted white again, as have the tree trunks.
The flower pots along the route have been planted now, as has the central island at the European end of the bridge.  So now 
Mohambet Square is being busily planted with flowers to catch up.  There is also a planting effort underway on the banks of the flyover of Kurmangazy at Tamasha...It will say Atyrau in flowers.  The bridge itself has also been painted, not blue but green.  In fact this particular green colour is appearing on a few buildings.  
Fifty Shades of Green...the new Atyrau blockbuster colour
I think it is either a new fashion or a large batch was bought by the city at a good price.
Planting on Mohambet Square
One intriguing event is the appearance of three decorative pieces in the grass verge at the Satpayeva end of the Square.  There is a stone with primitive deer drawings on it, a peacock at rest and two urns still wrapped in plastic.  

The urn motif seems quite popular.  In fact in Astana there is a whole building that is built in the shape of a toppled urn.  
The Astana urn is significantly bigger than ours, as one would expect of a Capital urn.
There has also been quite a lot of painting of building that new green or the more common ochre colours.  But by far the most perplexing colour change has been the sudden repainting of pedestrian crossings which used to be yellow and have nor turned red.  It has happened quite quickly and nor it is hard to find any yellow crossings.
Unfortunately the red paint does not seem to stick very well and it is wearing thin in places after just a couple of weeks.

Even the advertising signs along Satpayeva have been spruced up and new ones added, all emphasising Atyraus role as a commercial centre.  
And I have to admit some surprise in seeing that NCOC had put up a sign for Kashagan, emphasising that its efforts were "Benefiting Kazakhstan People". Which of course they are, and will do so even more when there is some oil flowing. 
Nicely located just in front of the Chevron TCO building!
Last but not least there have appeared on the banks of the Ural the start of two structures, the nature of which is as yet unknown.  So, as bad as I feel leaving you in such suspense, I am going to post this blog and leave it to a later date to reveal the nature of the mysterious posts!

Well that was where I planned to leave this blog last Friday, but yesterday I went walking to the shops and discovered a couple of other "new" features in the city, so decided to add them as a post script.  The main thing is the arrival of the camels beside the Atyrau sign (in flowers).  Not only camels but also a post or pillar of some sort.
Unfortunately it is difficult to get a clear shot of this "welcome to Atyrau" scene because of the shed, but I can assure you that it adequately signals what to expect in Atyrau.

But that was not all, further down Satpayeva, in some empty land beside the street, there have appeared more animals, this time of a deer type variety.  I am not sure quite what they are but all add to the interest of walking to the store.
It just leaves us wondering how quickly the city would change if The President visited every month and took a different route around town.  After a year the city would be shining like a new pin...maybe.

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