Apr 19 2012

Agreeing With Happy Events

Category: Friends,PersonalChrisM @ 11:41 pm

On Saturday we are having a few friends over to our flat for a birthday celebration. Here in Kazakhstan, people tend not to celebrate such events prior to the actual date, and as on the 20th itself I’m going to be checking out the American Bar & Grill restaurant (located where TGI Friday was on Respublika Avenue (they are apparently both owned by the same parent company/franchise co-ordinator)) with Irina, Tim, Anna and Ira’s parents, the 21st was the next closest date when people would likely be free.
Friends who have visited on such occasions before can probably guess what will be served when we all sit down to eat – various deep fried meat products, chips (there is a real shortage of other potato based deep fried garnishes in local supermarkets right now) and baked beans. Irina was concerned that on a person’s birthday celebration, they shouldn’t be doing the cooking, but we reached an agreement where things I don’t normally cook or enjoy would be handled by her, like salad or cups of tea, where as alcohol, unhealthy but tasty food and audio/video entertainment would be sorted by me. This way, I am happy to be cooking things that I see as a treat, Irina is happy that guests won’t be floating on a sea of sunflower oil all night, and we will both be happy that the compromise reached is one agreeable to all involved.
Long Island Iced Tea
I have scoured local shops for the required ingredients to make a good few litres of Long Island Iced Tea (just need to add the lemon juice and coke (many thanks to Justin, for the heads up on a possible location for an orange liqueur)), stockpiled various chicken-themed main courses, discovered that chips are, for some reason, the only potato-based garnish that are currently stocked locally & ensured the music and video collection are up to scratch. The friends coming are a mix of ex-pats and locals, people younger than me, and a little bit older, so I’ll try and cook up a playlist that mixes up the genres enough to be to everyone’s agreement. I suspect a little Happy Hardcore & Scouse House will still slip through though. If people don’t think it is enough of a compromise, I’ll play the birthday boy card 😉

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jan 01 2007

Money – How Much?

Category: Eating Out,KazakhstanChrisM @ 2:11 am

OK, a couple of people have already e-mailed and asked “so how much money should I bring?”
Well, I’m not sure on an exact total, but if I give you an idea of how much stuff costs here, you’ll be better informed to guess a holiday total I suppose…

20 fags (Parliament) – 80pence
20 fags (Marlboro) – 40 pence
20 fags (Russian smokable stuff) – 20-35 pence

Bottle of coke in a shop – 50 pence
Bottle of vodka in a shop – 90 pence to 5 pounds, depending on brand (drinkable – nice), can pay more, but what’s the point?
Bottle of beer in a shop – 40 pence to 90 pence (Russian to European brands)

In a restaurant/cafe, fags, coke and beer maybe double the price, or there abouts, vodka costs maybe two pounds for 200ml

PC Games/Applications/MP3 collections – 2 pounds to 5 pounds, depending on amount of discs in box, and how obvious the copy is
Music CDs – between 40-80% of UK price

Taxi ride (real taxi) – 2 to 3 pounds for a 10/15 minute ride
Taxi ride (flagging a random car off the street) – haggle price, normally little cheaper than real taxi

Meal in a cafe (salad (ha ha ha), meat dish, chips, coke, vodka) – Between 4 and 12 pounds per person, depending on type of place you go to

Meal in a restaurant (same stuff as above) – Between 6 and 20 pounds tops, per person

Obviously, if you want to get drunk, rather than merely relaxed, add more money for the extra vodka/soft drink/beer

Entrance fee to a club – 5 to 7 pounds – basically, the more ‘exclusive’ an activity or brand is, the higher the price soars, prices for drinks in clubs a little higher than elsewhere.

Next door to China, so disposable electronic trinkets, that might last 5 years, or 5 days, are to be found in plenty of shops.
If you want any ‘Kazakh’ souvenirs – cultural stuff, definitely bring along a little bit extra cash.

Re. Money – bring at least 100 euros or a little more in dollars, the rest is up to you – there are ATMs over here (don’t forget to budget for banks comission/charges for this service), and there is ONE place that we know of that will exchange English pounds for Kazakh Tenge, but Irina says you shouldn’t rely on it still working/taking UK currency by the time you come over. Your choice basically.

Re. CDs/DVDs vs. portable hard drive. I’ve read around, and people have less difficulty taking hard drives out of the country than lots of discs, apparently. Couldn’t find any info on importing. Personally, I’ve never had a problem in either direction. There is apparently a rule, on your way out of the country,that if Customs discover discs in your luggage, they must have been previously inspected and sealed by a dept. elsewhere in Astana. You’ll need to do this four or five days before the flight.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,