Monday, April 03, 2006

Some pictures from Shymkent--late April, early May, 2004

The first two images are of an open air farmer's market located down the road from our hotel. It was just before a bridge. Shymkent has the feel of a border town--lots of trade, lots of traffic, lots of different types of people. A little raw and rough. A Kazakh guide/interpreter called it the Wild West and that's sort of the feel of it. This was at the end of the day when all of the trading was about done.

These images are of a flea market. You could find anything you wanted there. The stalls mostly consisted of steel sheds and shipping containers. The shopkeepers would lock up the doors to the containers at night.

This was our hotel. It had been recently constructed but had an unfinished feel. The grounds, for example, were a mess, and there were features of the interior that needed work. You had the feeling that it had been built for a clientele that had never materialized. Nevertheless, the business was conducted as though the clientele were there--there was a bar that was always open and barely used and a pretty elaborate convenience store--almost a grocery store--on the first floor that was well stocked and staffed and barely ever used. Strange.

This was what I thought of as "The Temple of Ra"--a condo being built up the street from our hotel and that had reached a stage of unfinishedness that looked like it was going to be semi-permanent. During the time that we were in Shymkent--most of two weeks--I never say anyone actually working on the condo, and we would pass it on a daily basis. The condo was between our hotel and the main grocery and also the place that we went to for internet access.

This is the large park across the street from our hotel. I took this from our hotel at about 10 pm at night. It was light until very late. The park was always well used. The street between our hotel and the park was a six lane, divided boulevard. Along with the new Mercedes and Toyotas and the ancient Russian cars, you would also sometimes see a cart being drawn by a horse or mule.

This is from a street near our hotel. I liked the older buildings better.


Anonymous sxymma said...

I enjoyed your pictures today. Where is shymkent?

4/04/2006 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

Shymkent is in southern Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan stretches from the Black Sea to China and nearly reaches Korea. Shymkent sits just north of India (and the countries between Kazakhstan and India).

4/04/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger SXYMMA said...

And that's where Maia is from? I love the pictures. On your next post I noticed the streets by the cellphone store. I was trying to figure out where someone would drive? It seemed so narrow. Facinating. Thanks for sharing this with the world! Keep the pictures coming!!

4/06/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

That was actually a broken down sidewalk. The streets and sidewalks are generally quite wide. But it is hazardous to drive there. I think Kazakhs are easily among the world's worst drivers. They are horse people, and you have the feeling that they drive like they were riding horses--the first one there, wins. And woe betide you if you're a pedestrian and haven't made it all the way across when the light turns.

4/06/2006 12:40:00 PM  

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