I’ll need to check our camera at home (as I write this post, we are at Irina’s parents’ house, but it looks like these pictures taken on the 27th December as Oleg was visiting us before returning to Moscow, might be the latest of her. Sorry it took a while to return to almost live posting of her photos, I’ll try and stay more up to date, and mix in a little more of the usual subject matter for new posts.
Sep 15 2009
Unless you fancy trying to import one from Moscow or St Petersburg (meaning extra delivery arrangements & costs and the customs process to clear), you still can’t buy a Dyson vacuum here in Kazakhstan. Given the love of some people in Astana to show off their wealth by flaunting Western goods, I’m surprised no one has yet set up a business or franchise to import them and sell them on with a healthy mark up. Maybe importing lots of vacuum motors as spare parts put some people off. However, given the price of other deluxe/exclusive/top of the range goods in shops, I think there is money to be made. If I had the contacts, the capital to start the business, and knew which squeaky wheels would need greasing, it would be something to consider.
Nov 10 2008
Just before he went off to Moscow and moved out of his flat, DaveG held a party round at his (partially as a flat cooling party (does that term exist?) and partially as a goodbye for us, as we may not cross paths again for a few months). I took a few snaps, and realised that some of our friends had never been posted here on this blog before.
So, without further ado, may I present (starting from top left, going clockwise in both cases) Assel, DaveG (mostly obscured), Dan, another Dan and Jo.
Here we have Dr Ken, Irina, Walton, Assel, DaveG, Dan, Jo, and the other Dan again. (TBH I’ve labelled them as Shymkent and Non-Shymkent Dan in my phonebook, but that will make even less sense to everyone reading this.)
Oct 15 2008
No concrete details at all yet, but there is the possibility I will be doing some voice over work for a studio over here. Their usual choice (our friend ChrisK) is currently over in Moscow, and won’t be back here in time. He has already completed a few projects with them, and seemed happy enough with the setup. Exactly what the project entails, what they’ll need from me, what the film is based on etc. I don’t know yet, but once I know more, I’ll be posting up the details here 🙂
Apr 14 2008
Our friend Oleg is now back in Moscow, having spent some time here in Astana to sort out paperwork. We only managed to meet a couple of times, but it was good to catch up, and we’ll hopefully see each other again soon.
Dec 15 2007
Or should that be Aussie?
Anyway, I have just got back from a enjoyable evening at Chelsea, here in Astana. Chris, the other Brit has been here for just under a year, and David (see previous posts that I’m too lazy to find and link to right now) has just moved to Astana this week, coming from Moscow, via Almaty. Had a few to drink, and a little to eat, and hopefully meeting up with both of them tomorrow evening. Anyway, had a good night, and too lazy too type out a proper review of the meal this evening, so, to loyal readers, please forgive me this minor transgression. To those that have just happened upon this site, I promise I am normally capable of typing out slightly more coherent posts. If you are really desperate for details on this bar/restaurant, I’d recommend you simply search for Chelsea on this blog.
Nov 21 2007
THIS POST IS TEMPORARILY ‘STUCK’ TO THE FRONT PAGE.
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO SEE MORE RECENT POSTS, THANKS…
Once again, this post is primarily for family and friends back in Britain. A few have asked when and where we will be this Christmas time, and rather than repeating ourselves umpteen times, I thought I would post it up here, and refer people to the blog instead. More visitors never hurt the Alexa rank either 😉
Leave Astana 22nd December : 07:25
Arrive Moscow : 08:00
Leave Moscow : 10:05
Arrive Heathrow : 11:15
At this point John is hopefully picking us up in the motor-home, and driving us back to Clydach
23rd December : Flying visit to, and tour of, Cheltenham, as Ira’s parents will be returning to Kazakhstan before New Year
25th December : Something major happened this day in history, anyone recall?
27th December : Mum and John get married. 🙂 🙂 🙂 (note to myself, remember to update Outlook Contacts to Carol Kavanagh!)
29th December : The in-laws return to Kazakhstan, so following flight times are just for them…
Leave Heathrow : TBC
Arrive Moscow : TBC
Leave Moscow : TBC
Arrive Astana : TBC
New Years : At Mum & John’s place
Post-New Year : Spend some time in Clydach, Cheltenham (catching up with friends sober enough to move), Evesham (to see Dad), and hopefully London (to finally catch a glimpse of EmmaF’s new home, as well as other friends living there)
12th January : We leave Britain to return to Kazakhstan, with the following flight times
Leave Heathrow 12th January : 12:25
Arrive Moscow : 19:30
Leave Moscow 13th January : 00:10
Arrive Astana : 06:25
All flights are quoted with local times
Oh, and once again, a random two word phrase to make searching for this post, once it has slipped off the front page, a little easier. Hmm we had pink badger last time I think, so today’s phrase will be red dove.
 Well, turns out there is a film called Red Dove. Involving amnesia, communism and water polo. I’m half tempted to try and source a torrent for that, it seems like an interesting mix of plot devices!
Nov 15 2007
My lessons for the rest of this week were cancelled on Wednesday, as the student is busy organizing his relocation to Moscow. This means less money coming in, so I have tried to catch up with a few more sponsored posts. Karra and Muska are a little confused, as since I started giving conversational English classes, my bed times had been closer to midnight than 6am. They have wandered in and out of the living room a few times, demanding strokes, and eventually giving up, to return to the bedroom. Hopefully they’ve not woken Irina up.
Anyway, the following animation was posted to my Facebook funwall, it portrays one cat’s not so subtle attempts to wake its owner.
I think I will check for any blunt objects near the bed before sleeping tonight 😉
Oct 26 2007
This is the second and last post regarding my journey through Kaliningrad ‘International’ Airport. I made notes up until this point during the holiday, for some reason things get a little hazy during my time in Amsterdam….
The big screen I mentioned in a previous post was now visible to us. Wow, it was high quality, had flight numbers, destinations, and even the weather at each destination! Unfortunately it lacked any sort of column for flight times or estimates of delays involved. (Can you tell where this story is heading yet, dear reader?). I was not too worried, as there were only six or seven departure exits from the area, and you could even find a seat in the smoking section that gave a view of all but one of these 🙂 When it got to 10 minutes past the approximate boarding time for my next flight, I was a little concerned, but had seen no one leave for any flights at all. There were a few announcements, in Russian, but these seemed to be more procedural statements (don’t leave luggage unattended etc.) than flight info, so I asked the Germans if they had flown through here before (only to discover two spoke English), and if so did they know what happened when flights were delayed? A friendly shrug informed me they were currently as clueless as me.
I then decided to tour the perimeter of the area, determined to find someone who spoke English, or at least would be prepared to listen to my attempts at enquiries in Russian. (Don’t laugh too hard, several times officials (not just in Kaliningrad) who realised my Russian skills were not sufficient to conclude any conversation quickly had walked off, with no clue as to my next suitable avenue of enquiry.) I quickly found a friendly lady who pointed me in the direction of a young girl who worked there and spoke better English than my Russian. I was informed that there was nothing to worry about, that a flight from Moscow had been delayed by two hours, and that three passengers hoping to get to Amsterdam were on that same flight. And no, neither announcements nor TV screens had yet revealed this info. (Again, I mainly wanted to know so that my next time in the airport would not involve so much mystery). There were a couple of things I had not fully understood, and when Ira called me up, to check I was about to get on the plane, and hadn’t fallen asleep somewhere silly, I was about to ask her to double check them with someone at the airport, if I handed my mobile over. However, Irina had been told by the airport a few moments earlier that my flight to Amsterdam WAS on time, and that all passengers were boarding this very second. Obviously this left Irina concerned that I had mightily goofed, and was about to miss a flight involving the Netherlands once again. Eventually the lady who I had previously spoken to proved to be correct, and the person who had spoken to Ira was full of crap. I had already called Alex and Chris, to confirm that they had left Cheltenham and were on their way to Birmingham airport (more on that later). Unfortunately I found I was not able to make calls to Kazakhstan at all, though calls to Britain had obviously worked. Two hours after our planned departure, our plane left Kaliningrad, and I was most glad of the 1.5 hours of sleep I grabbed on the flight.
Schiphol, Amsterdam itself and UK trip info to follow in other posts soon.
Sep 05 2007
This is it… the last four videos recorded on the evening that Astana had a concert to celebrate the President’s birthday and also that Astana became the capital of Kazakhstan almost ten years ago now.
Here we have the fireworks starting, with a message in Kazakh, and some more carnival dancing and music in the background.
The fireworks have properly started, and we also have the Rio Carnival procession finally makes its way to the stage.
Excuse the strange start to this video – I couldn’t believe it when a heavily pregnant woman stood on top of an unstable chair to take some photos, so I got a little distracted. Anyway, it leads into the 13th act with singing in both Russian And English. The track Dancing On Broken Glass has also received a fair amount of air time on the radio stations over here. The President had already left by this point. Apparently the singer is quite popular, at least amongst woman. Ira was recently on the same flight as him, coming back from Moscow, though sadly there was no gossip to report back…
The end Of the Astana Day concert, with a cameo by AlexC, testing the low ambient light setting on the camcorder.
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