After procuring a cell phone from some nice person sitting adjacent us in the bus station café, we dialed our host and flew out of there as to not make him any more late than he would be for his classes. After getting settled in, we crashed for the afternoon and then walked around some trying to find a restaurant to suite Jon’s vegan responsibilities. Successful, but expensive; as we found comes with most everything in Almaty.
The following day, much the same – walk around, see the city – and try not to spend all our money in one day. Almaty is clearly the most developed city in all of Central Asia. That being said, it is still a struggle to find non-Russian pop music filled, expensive entrance fee, mandatory dress/face controlled bars or clubs. To that end, our last night we managed to come across one, as it was closing. The band had left – but Vintage VH1 90’s videos were on. It was great. After we get back from Semey in the north, we’re going back there before we fly out.
Before wandering in hopes of finding a place like that, we spent all day in the mountains just outside Almaty (see newly added Flickr photos). For as expensive as this city is, it is still worth the trip out here to see the place. We later found out it is the site for the Asian Winter Games 2010/2011, and for good fucking reasons. To say it felt nice to be out of a city for a change would be a drastic understatement. We had to wear multiple layers, which was a goddamn relief compared to the heat previously experienced, in and out of buses. The next day would find us aboard another bus, this time to Semey in the north 20 hours from Almaty.