Jul 20 2006

Odds And Ends

Category: KazakhstanChrisM @ 11:29 pm

Bureaucracy – if you are on holiday, rather than emigrating, coming into and out of the country is the most likely area you’ll encounter the most problems. To be fair, we’ve not been stopped in a couple of years, but if they decide you look like a likely person to have violated a rule, there isn’t a great deal you can do about it. Coming into the country, they can not let you in at all, and worse, leaving the country, they are only too well aware that you need to be available to get on a plane pretty soon.
Once you arrive in the country, you will need to register your presence, at the ‘Ovir’, within 3 or 4 business days. This is normally not a problem, the worst part being if their sewers are over flowing again, and you need to wait in a queue, trying not to gag. There is nothing to worry about regarding this procedure; it is just so they can know who is officially registered where. Whilst this country is a lot ‘freer’ than it may have seemed to Westerners 15 or 20 years ago, you will have to remember that the approach taken by the government over here to maintain control of the population is not how we view ‘best practice’ in the UK. Tough luck, their country, their rules, which, all in all, seems fair, if the roles were reversed, we’d not expect people to complain too excessively about our customs/social rules/laws.

When in the country, you will see some people walking around in army camo fatigues, most of these people are manual labourers, who use them as hard-wearing clothes to work in. If, however, you see a group of 2-6 young men wandering in ‘urban’ colour camos (bluey/purpley), these are some sort of street patrollers. No idea on their legal/military/civilian status, I just make sure I’m not littering/jay-walking when I see them around :>
Then you have the regular police force, who you will see in cars (often using their PA systems as public education systems (‘Drivers! Do not park here’ or ‘Move out the way NOW’)), on foot, or in little kiosks at key strategic civic points.
There is also a (separate?) traffic police force, who occasionally turn off the traffic lights, and get out their little wands to manually direct the traffic. Unless you intend to drive over here (don’t forget to apply for an International Driving License in the UK, if so), you can safely ignore them.
Finally, you’ll occasionally see the Army guys marching round in unison, but they seem to stay off the streets for the majority of the time.

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