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  • Day2

    Arrive in Almaty

    July 3, 2017 in Kazakhstan ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    Arrive in a blur at 4:40 am local time. 17 hours of transit spread over 2 time changes, Moscow and then Kazakhstan passport control. Aeroflot no problems, two dinners served at 3 am and then 2 am . Met the car service and make it to Hotel Otrar by 7 am. Meet Chris on security control line and share taxi in with her. Quick refresh in the room and then we're off. We go to the El Doro cafe for a quick breakfast, feels like my 10th meal in 48 hours. Weird interaction with a woman sitting next to us who keeps insisting we should try the pizza for breakfast. Then a young man joins her and begins staring at us, unclear what he wants, but feels like he wants to sell us something. Waitress comes back and moves us to the other side of the terrace. I do order the pizza and it hits the spot. Discover and verify over the course of the next few days, coke light is not a thing here. First we head to the Russian Orthodox Church and enter while a service is in session. It's deeply moving with a full chorus behind a screen, two priests and an assortment of women in Babuskas who enter, some getting down onto their hand and knees. We head out and start to walk towards the cable car, stopping at the hotel Kazakhstan, then finding the elusive Coke zero at a Burger King.  We get to the cable car in time for it's 10 am opening, and get to the top of kok tobe. We walk around and admire the views, it's a bit early but we see all the amusement rides, we go through a handful of souvenir shops.  We meet an interesting Canadian who is a wanderer, working his way through the Stans.  We find the Beatles statue and take pictures. Head down and begin to walk across town in search of the central state museum.  Eventually we find it, enter the impressive cement dome that contains a golden man replica.  We walk through the exhibits, the most interesting being the costumes and ethnography exhibit.  Now tired, and hot, we eat at Trattoria -a high end Italian restaurant. Exhausted, we take a bus back to the hotel and crash for a bit.  We then head out and find a pub like place for dinner.  A good, long dayRead more