So this blog will be about Almaty, the biggest city in Kazakhstan. Almaty was once the capital of Almaty before it was changed to Astana. Almaty or Alma-Ata which means “Grandfather Apple” in Kazakh is located in the south close to the Chinese border. It is a very cool city with lots of things to do. My group were really able to get to know the city well and even though we were about 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Almaty, we endured those gypsy cabs/buses just to get there.
Before I go on with my story, let me tell you what a gypsy cab could be. So, Kazakhstan doesn’t really have a cab system outside the city so everyone could just be a potential taxi. You basically do a hitchhike pose and a taxi will stop then you can barter for how much you would pay for it. During this time, I didn’t really have the language skills to yell at the taxi driver for a lower price so we relied a lot on how much the locals told us it should cost. Now, however I am happy to say that I could yell in Russian and basically tell them that my money does not grow on trees for me to pay for that much. Haha.
Ok, so we would always take a cab to the city and pay about 300 tenge or about $2 to go to the city. Of course, it is not that much if you think about it in dollars but we didn’t have that much money. We were trainees and only get like $4 a week as allowance. It was actually kind of expensive for us poor volunteers. As I have mentioned Almaty is cool and it is one of my favorites cities here in Kazakhstan. I feel like we were in the city every weekend or every other weekend just to get some food and internet. South Kazakhstan is also famous for their beautiful mountains and we were lucky enough to go to Medeo. We suffered 900 steps up the mountain, but it was totally worth it because the view was amazing and it reminded me so much of Quito! Which as all of you guys know, is my favorite city in the whole world.
Ok so here is the list of my favorite food in Kazakhstan.
1. Doner Kabobs (awesome Turkish confection!)
2. Lagman (awesome Uighur noodles, the only thing with flavor)
3. Potatoes and meat that was baked by my host aunt during PST
4. Shashlik (barbequed meat)
5. Vareniki (Perogies like which reminded me so much of home)
6. Plov (Uzbek rice with meat)
I will not list any more, but all I have to say is that the top 2 are my favorites! Also, I miss Mexican and Chinese food sooo much!
Next blog may be interesting!