2018 Tian Shan travel: Part 16

2018 Tian Shan

August-September 2018 travel to Kazakhstan reviewed in 2021

Commentary from 2021

This post comes from 24th of August 2018. It described my first thoughts on Almaty city. The name refers to alma, apples, a concept which I found easy to connect with given that Poland, my home country, is such a producer of that fruit that even Kazakhs knew about it.

Original blog post link:
Original post from 24.08.2018 is copied below.

Almaty, Alma-Ata – first thoughts

City of apples! As someone coming from the country of apples, I just had to visit it. I am told in Almaty that they are importing Polish apple trees, as this kind bears fruit for a longer time than Kazakh types. That’s cool!

Kazakhs tell me they sometimes eat Polish apples in the City of Apples (”alma” means “apple”), as they are good. But do they mean it?
Kazakhs are afraid to speak their minds, from what I noticed. In cultures where they will instantly tell you if they don’t like something, a word of praise is meaningful. Here you just don’t know if they’re forcing themselves to be nice, or they really believe so. I have to drill these people really hard past several mental layers of forced correctness in the Russian language so they really say what they think!

I just begun sightseeing, but I instantly like Almaty more. How to compare Astana to Almaty? Astana is a one-of-a-kind city and you won’t find another like it in the world, so clean, so new, so… artificial. Despite all its intentional design and recent development with all the thinking of the best of the nation, buses have no direction plates, I failed to find a street with restaurants, and drivers had no idea what I mean by “city centre” regarding Astana. Almaty is not as plastic pretty, but it feels like a natural city, where it’s easy to find a proper mall (though Keruen in Astana was quite cool!) to get your supplies. There is a tube system here, even if just 1 line. Price is 80 tenge (0.19 EUR) – second lowest I’ve seen in the world, right after Kiev!

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