Tag Archives: Kazakhstan

Confessions of a graphomaniac.

Doctor, dear doctor, help me for I’m a graphomaniac. Yes doctor, I love paper. I adore the smell of the thing, the muffled noise of a pencil running on a smooth sheet. In a nutshell, doctor, I love writing. I … Continue reading

Posted in Odd ones out, Random memories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

To the last city.

No, that’s a misnomer. Tashkent was, if anything, Uzbekistan’s first city, at least in the modern sense of the term. First one to be occupied by the Russians, first one to be reached by a railroad, first to host all … Continue reading

Posted in Central Asia, Uzbekistan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

“Out of Steppe” by Daniel Metcalfe, Arrow – Random House

If the passion for travelling off the beaten path, exploring places that don’t make it on the top-shelf brochure at your local Trailfinders (but, let’s face it, they don’t even make it to the bottom one), was a genetic strand … Continue reading

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Disaster by design: the death and partial rebirth of the Aral Sea (Part 3).

I’d expected the whistling undertaker from For a Fistful of Dollars to be appearing at every corner I turned. I was to experience this feeling again, in Central Asia, but Aralsk looked – even smelt, if that was ever possible – … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Central Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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

Posted in Asia, Kazakhstan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

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

Posted in Asia, Kazakhstan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

“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

Posted in Asia, Central Asia, Kazakhstan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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

Posted in Asia, Kazakhstan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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

Posted in Asia, Kazakhstan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments