Whilst fiddling with back room stuff for this site, wanted to try a few things out, so here is the next section on Kazakhstan.
If someone thinks you look a little different to the accepted norm for a Russian or Kazakh person, they will simply stare at you. This shouldn’t be taken as an insult (or an invitation to get to know one another ;>). It is just if they want to cop a look, they won’t be subtle.
People have different coping mechanisms for this behavioural trait. Some avert their eyes, others pretend not to notice. Still others will decide to turn it into a juvenile game. Whoever breaks the stare first loses, and you can keep a tally through the whole day you are out. Once you are up at the end of a day (18-3 for example), you can assume you’re no longer feeling like such a wimpy foreigner. Ummm, or so my friends tell me ;>
Whilst we may all joke about English manners and overly polite social standards, standing in line for something over here is an experience you’re not likely to forget very quickly.
You’ll also be likely to quickly re-appraise your understanding of the term line or queue. People will have no shame, nor should you, about pushing their way to the front of what could have been a perfectly civil and organized wait for the bus/ticket desk/shop assistant/train/you get the idea.
I still draw the line at elderly/young people, other than that, its every queue jumper for themselves, ultimately. (This does tend to mean most elderly/young people get served/on the bus before me, but I have this thing against trampling over brittle bones/people smaller than me.)
Upon arrival/exiting the country, be it 8.30pm, 3.45am or 3pm, you’ll likely find yourselves being greeted with a small (OK, more likely a table laden with more stuff than you’d normally see for a ‘light’ meal) snack and some drinks, to celebrate your arrival/time in the country.
You might not feel exactly like wolfing the lot down, but if you take your time, with the food and the drink, you should do fine. DON’T feel obliged to down shots of Cognac/Vodka each toast. Unless that’s your adjusting mechanism to the flights & time difference ;>