A week before the Charyn Canyon Trip, I ventured up to Kok-Tobe with one of my roommates to check out Almaty’s nearest foothill, and see what exactly one would find at a “Recreation Area.”

There is a tram that starts very close to KIMEP University, and takes you to the top for around 2000 Tenge, which is close to $14. My roommate and I opted instead to go for a little bit of a hike up the hill, which allowed us to save money and take some great photos.

Tram Entry/Exit on Top of the Hill

At what is considered the “Recreation Area,” there are a number of things, including an artificial rock climbing wall (which was already closed for the season), a zoo, an alpine slide, and some other amusement park type things. In fact, it was eerily similar to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, but without the gigantic swing and “Wild West” theme.

Throughout Almaty, there are a number shrines for Apples, which came from this geographic part of the world…
…and the Original Fab Four. I have no idea why, but I have seen multiple shrines dedicated to The Beatles around town.

There was a group of international students who had taken the tram up and were just being served dinner when we joined them at one of the finer restaurants on the hill. I had already eaten, so I avoided the overpriced shashlyk and instead ate the rays of the sun as it set just beyond the city.

The Sun Setting with Almaty between it and I
Almaty Radio Tower at Dusk
Soon after, the sun disappeared.

The reason the other international students were at Kok-Tobe, and, arguably, my roommate and I, was because it was the venue for the “Miss Almaty 2012” competition. The closest I have ever come to a beauty pageant before this was watching “Little Miss Sunshine,” so it was a unique experience to sit and watch beautiful women strut around stage without a clue as to what they or the announcers were saying.

Miss Almaty 2012

After the event, we walked down the hill with the whole crew, and then parted ways as they got a taxi while my roommate and I walked an extra fifteen minutes to our apartment.

And, with that, I am “officially” out of things to blog about for my first two months here. Since I got back from my brother’s beautiful wedding, I have been going on beautiful runs around town, but leaving my camera at home. So, I will now return to only posting things that are interesting or exciting, and no longer on a weekly basis. If you feel like following what I do on a day-to-day basis, check me out on Twitter @JonJKZ or on Instagram @JonJKZ as well.

No matter where in the world you might be, keep having fun, and know that I’m doing the same here in Kazakhstan.


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