Explorer Mikael Strandberg

The Kazakh Diary 4th Report: Bigger And More Modern City On The Steppe

Yesterday the girls and me strolled slowly around our new neighborhood and suddenly realized two things, first, we live on the edge of a quite big city of half a million people and 2, it is quickly modernizing and growing quite fast. And it definitely still have a Russian feel! And old Soviet!

Old Soviet, well, especially when it comes to the greeting and service mindedness. Hardly anyone acknowledges you when you say Strasvoitje or privjet or Salaam aleikum. It is just not done. A left over from the past when you never knew who you fully could trust. Once you break through this inherited way, people are extra ordinary friendly.

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The worst left over though is the incredibly non existent service mindedness in stores. You get a feel that you are actually bothering people by asking if you can pay or bother them for the price of a kilo of spuds. Worst are the girls sitting at the end of these stores where you have to pay. Some continue to look in the mirror if their eye brows are perfect, some continue to smoke on the outside, which means you have to wait until they´re ready. Amazing but true. It is like they don´t care if they loose money or not as long as they can do what they feel they need to do. This makes shopping hard, so we are looking around for the best option right now. However, most stores sell the same groceries and the choice around where w live ain´t big. It´s mayo or not. You still have a feel that everything is on rationing.
Otherwise, when we went into the center yesterday, one gets, on the other hand, a feel that mammon is the new God, where shopping centers are bigger and more lavish than anything else. And people shop! However, all this is mixed with great friendliness, Soviet style architecture, statues, straight and wide streets, straight and wide major streets and parks and the girls feel very good. All three of them. Being Asian, they feel accepted and part of the community. Even though we stick out with our bright colorful clothes. the girls that is.

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I really, really enjoy my time with the girls. I feel much more relaxed and at ease compared to Moss Side. Weather is much better. Zero rain! And my wife enjoys what she is doing more than ever and makes all of us very happy. I think I have finally turned the jet lag around. I went to sleep at midnight and up at 7.30. The girls are still sleeping though….

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