Category Archives: Kazakhstan

Disaster by design: the death and partial rebirth of the Aral Sea (Part 2).

I’d seen Serik a long time before we met in the parking lot outside the Altair hotel; in fact, I first read about him on Al Jazeera. Dubbed “Aralsk’s only tour guide”, he’d accepted to be my guide for the … Continue reading

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Disaster by design: the death and partial rebirth of the Aral Sea (Part 1).

The aurora was a promise of yet another scorcher of a day, as it’d been yesterday and tomorrow was bound to be, but right now it was fresh and cool as I sat on my pack on the first of … Continue reading

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“I’ve once been to Kyzyl-Orda, but never to New York”.

I recently attended a training course which, as corporate events normally do, started with an ice-breaker. Every attendee had to stand up, one by one, and declare to the roomful of colleagues something quirky, or unusual, about himself. When it … Continue reading

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Out of the steppe.

There are trips we’ve wanted to do for a lifetime, which work their way up to the top of your bucket list. Well, I’ve just crossed one from mine and if I had to distil it in four pictures whilst … Continue reading

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The world from above. Steppe, mountains and the Caspian sea.

Looking at out planet from above is a profound experience. Michael Collins, Apollo 11’s resident philosopher, famously said that looking at Earth from a great distance was the strongest memory of his epic voyage, going on to add that Earth was … Continue reading

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A tent, a poplar tree and the Dubai of the steppe.

An ever-helpful airshow runs on a loop on my seat’s in-flight entertainment system as we fly high above the steppe towards Astana. A tiny Air Astana airplane flies above a map of the world painted in greens, blues and tans, … Continue reading

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A snowfall that would’ve made Bruegel proud.

It was snowing when I arrived, and it hadn’t finished yet when I left. Everything between the flights from and to Kiev – with their cargo of harmonica-playing, duty-free-vodka-guzzling men – happened under a soft blanket of falling snow. Of … Continue reading

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