Jan 31 2012

Nick’s Wedding

Category: Anna's Photos,Personal,PicturesChrisM @ 7:20 pm

I didn’t include these in the August post from last month, as there are a lot. We came back to Britain in time to be at Nick (my brother) and Roz’s wedding. It was down in Cornwall, where they live, so a very beautifully pregnant Irina, Anna, myself, Mum & John went for a holiday in a cottage near Falmouth, giving us plenty of time to see them and unwind in the Summer sun. I think it was our first week long holiday since Dubai back in 2003 (money that would otherwise be saved for vacations tends to pay for plane tickets between Britain and Kazakhstan), so it was very refreshing to break the routine. Anyway, enough typing for now, here are the pictures. I’ll try to caption July & August’s photo galleries soon.

Too many photos to label them all, feel free to ask questions about any that interest you.

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Jul 06 2010

Beard Back?

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 12:48 am

The Saturday that has just passed saw me looking after Anna in the daytime. Irina was at work, because they had today (Monday) off. This was because Tuesday is a holiday. Slightly confusing, but basically rather than have people at work for one day, then off for a couple, then back, they made people work one extra day last week (Saturday), and then “gave” them Monday off. Anyway, this meant I was unable to go and teach English over at Interhouse. Up until now, I’ve been trying to turn up reasonably smart (new-ish t-shirt (or proper shirt before it got too hot), cropped hair and clean shaven). However, I’m now playing with the idea of re-growing the eternally existence-swapping beard. So if you see me around with fuzz, I’m just seeing if the facial hair gets to a reasonable length before my next lesson!

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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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