Jun 29 2009

Visitors, Straddling New White Lines, Posters and Yurts

Category: Kazakh Driving,KazakhstanChrisM @ 5:50 pm

You can definitely tell that there are foreign visitors about to arrive in Astana (there is the “III (I’m assuming that means 3rd?) Congress of leaders of world and traditional religions” – you can normally tell when a phrase is directly translated into English from Russian, rather than re-worded to sound more natural). The white lines on the roads are re-painted, even car parks get neat new spaces clearly marked out. Any billboard posters with our beloved president’s face on tend to be replaced (at least temporarily) with normal business adverts, or motivational ‘Astana city for the future’ type messages. You can tell when the big wigs have actually arrived though, as you’ll spot a lot more policeman at traffic junctions, sometimes ‘helping’ the flow of traffic by turning off the lights, other times ensuring that as a VIP’s car cruises down the road that no other traffic is met. The easiest way to tell when a VVIP is around? The motorcades get to drive on the wrong side of the road, with scores of cars, ambulances, motorbikes and 4x4s flanking the actual limo.
Anyway, we’re off in a moment to get and inspect the progress of the preparations for Astana day in the park opposite us – there are a lot more yurts there now, on raised platforms, and they seem to be making progress with the huge scaled up yurt in one corner. We have already taken a few pictures of the erecting process for yurts, and the mock castle walls at the pedestrian entrance to the park, I’ll try and post them soon.

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