The New Neighborhood

Author’s Note: Because I don’t have reliable internet, and doesn’t make the cut in terms of sites appropriate for Kazakhstani use, this blog post was originally emailed to my awesome brother Steve, including my own HTML coding for links and pictures. Let me know if there is an issue, and thanks in advance for your help and patience in dealing with my very “first world problem” of not being able to blog perfectly for the time being. – Jon Jay

Here is a terribly long run-on sentence from an email I sent to my buddy John, currently in the Peace Corps in Indonesia:

“I made it to KZ. I’ve been here for 4 ½ days, and have had a multitude of bizarre experiences already, not the least of which is house hunting with 2 beautiful Latvian girls that I met three hours prior to viewing a deluxe apartment on the top story of an apartment building that overlooks City Hall/Republic Square and mountains to the south; then moving in the next day after spending 3 hours negotiating with a Realtor, a University Housing Representative, and 2 friends of the landlady (who actually lives in Astana), in what naturally felt like a drug deal, complete with $1,500 USD/Tenge mix on the living
room coffee table at one point. Welcome to mutha(expletive) Kazakhstan!”

View from my bedroom during the day

Since that first crazy week, I have slowly gotten into a rhythm in my daily life: working in an office most of the day, in classrooms some of the time, taking classes at night, and trying to get into the mountains whenever I can (I’ll save my first nature post for later).

View from Republic Square
My Apartment Building

Also, because I am waiting for a multi-entry visa and immigration card, my identification papers are worryingly lacking, so I haven’t ventured far from my normal “home-KIMEP-home” walk I do at least once a day. Luckily, it’s a really nice walk, especially because of the fountains just below my apartment.

Kok-Tobe in the distance. I hope to explore the “recreation area”
under the tower soon.
Fountains at Night From My Apartment

From the 16th floor, the sunsets are pretty neat, at least in pictures. What’s not cool is the brown haze to the north, west and east that is wholly visible throughout the day, and then becomes colorful only as the sun descends to the horizon. For the final ten minutes of the day, you can pretty much look directly at the sun and it won’t hurt your eyes. The pleasures of pollution…

I did make it to the mountains last weekend, and will hopefully do so again soon. So, if this format isn’t a complete mess, I’ll hopefully be able to start getting posts up as often as I can.

Click on any photo for an enlarged image


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