Tea growing near Pu Mat National Park at Con Cuong, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Con Cuong (Pu Mat National Park), Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Well, that was a fun day!

We relaxed in the apartment for the morning, then set off around noon and headed for the central area of Almaty to see some of the sights. And to get a local Kazakhstan SIM card for the phone.

Almaty is a fairly big, modern city, with a population of about two million.

It's located at about 800 meters (2,600') altitude, and really close to the mountains.

View of the mountains next to Almaty.

Wide sidewalks with bike paths.

The Kazakh-British Technical University.

Scenery along the way.
Notice the apple.

There are a lot of these big painted apples.

Showing various scenes around the city.

Colorful tassels.
It wasn't raining... they have these little street cleaning machines that do the sidewalks, and one had just been by.


Well done, but a little odd.

Ruth, with the LEGO man.

Went into the main Kcell cellular outlet and got a SIM card. A fairly straightforward process, and about 20 minutes later we were all set up with 13GB of data at a cost of 3,700 tenge ($8 USD, $11 CAD). A little more expensive than the other "stan" countries, but I think Kazakhstan makes up for it with less expensive restaurant meals.

And that was our next stop... for some lunch. 

I had a chicken and spinach dish with lots of vegetables.

Ruth had lentil soup. Doesn't look like much, but she said it was good.

With a pot of tea, the total bill including 10% service charge was 2,970 tenge ($6.50 USD, $8.75 CAD).

Then it was off to see more sights.

Snow leopard wall mural.

Busy pedestrian street.

Yes, Marks and Spencer in Almaty!

Good that they have signs telling you that you can walk in the park!

The fantastic Almaty Cathedral.

Free to go inside.

Fancy stuff!

Horse rides in the plaza.

Lots of pigeons!

Holy pigeons, Batman!

Another view of the cathedral.

The opera and ballet house. 

Click the photo to make it full size, then click again to zoom in.

Art.

Another Almaty apple.

Didn't keep track, but I'm pretty sure we walked about 12 kms (7.5 miles). Back at the apartment for a rest, and it turns out we were going to need it!

An interesting story...

Danielle and Ron are from our hometown of Ottawa. Dave, one of my long time friends, owns a property management company there. Ron works with the federal government and was posted overseas to the embassy in Astana, Kazakhstan about two years ago. And Dave's firm was hired to look after their home for the duration of the posting. At the time, in casual conversation, Dave mentioned this blog, and Danielle started following us.

So when Danielle saw that we were coming to the "stan" countries, she reached out and gave us some tips. Long story short, they are here in Almaty having a birthday long weekend away, and invited us to join them for an evening out.

We ended up at an expat hangout called the Shakespeare Pub. 

A little bit of Olde England in Almaty, Kazakhstan!

The Shakespeare Pub in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

It turns out that this pub has a reputation for having the best Indian food in town. The owner is originally from Pakistan, and what a great guy. Friendly, and makes a point of getting to know everybody in the place. And, he gave us his contact info so that he can help us out when we eventually get to Pakistan.

A bit of a blurry ussie!
Kevin, Ruth, Ali, Sam (the owner), Ron, and Danielle.

The food was so delicious, we got some to takeout.

Ron and Danielle.


Kevin and Ruth.

There was a live band, with people up dancing.

Danielle got flowers for her birthday.

What a fun time we had. Didn't make it home until after midnight!

And the owner Sam invited us all back on Sunday for lunch with some of his friends.

Late getting up this morning, but it looks like a sunny day so we're headed to the top of the 26 story Kazakhstan Hotel to see if we can get a nice view of the city and the mountains.

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Black Friday weekend continues. Check out the deals at Amazon.com.

And in Canada...

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