– Sorry for delay on article, I’m a lazy writer.
Rise and shine. Early in the morning I woke up when our new Kazakh room-mate was rustling. We told him that we will be arriving in Almaty after 7:00, bet he was not convincible – in his mind it would be at 6:00. Some minutes past 7:00 we arrived in Almaty, station 2.
Our first task was to buy tickets to Ürümqi. Timetable was showing “место нет” meaning – there are no seats. At the information woman said that we should go to pay-box and ask for tickets. Pay-box was opening at 8:00 – little while to wait. Also we were informed that tickets cost about 50% more than expected. After visiting ATM and currency exchange point we felt quite comfortable.
After we bought the tickets we went to put our baggage in storage room. After that we contacted people from couch-surfing community to go to them for a shower. At first we thought about going by taxi. We were told that it is not so expensive (we should not pay more than 1000 tenges for all of us to get to our destination near microdistrict Orbita). But first taxi offered to bring us for 2000 tenges for each car (we needed 2). We were bargaining a little while when at this point woman at storage room intervened and told us how to get to our destination very easy using public transportation. We didn’t mind, it was in our (at least in my ) interests to explore this culture by participating in their everyday life – walking same streets, taking same public transportation, meeting people, et cetera. Taxi momentarily dropped his price to 1000 tenges for a car. It was still twice to much and our minds were set to going by bus.
First bus explained that we should go 2 stops and then reseat. We decided to go by foot. Taxi was still there, with friends. All of them were trying to convince to go with them. Now price was dropped to 1000 tenges for both cars. But we were going to our new target – bus stop No98. On the way there it was very interesting to acquaint oneself with their culture on the roads. As well as glancing at beautiful fountains.
At the bus stop we awaited our bus. Conductor was hurrying us up to get into the bus. As we found out later it is custom to do things fast – jump into or out of the bus almost while it is still moving. Conductor also showed us where to get out and where was the park with columns and beautiful fountains. Some public thermometer showed 38 degree C a while ago. So while waiting our contact persons we were sunbathing, taking photos and lounging near fountain.
We divided into two groups. One group went with let’s say “woman” and the other with “girl”
One after another we went to the shower at hers place. Feeling was much better. Woman made some sandwiches and omelette, and some other viands – cheese, sausages, tomatoes, etc. Very, very nice and kind from her.
After that we decided not to go to the observatory and nearby lake as it seemed to be very expensive. Instead we would be going to museum of music instruments. On the way there we enjoyed waterworks and flower gardens. Unfortunately museum is closed on Mondays. After quick chat with guard we went on. Clouds began to gather and it looked like there will be a thunderstorm soon. Indeed after a short while rain was starting to fall. We decided to go into some coffee for a lunch. Not all of us were so fortunate to get such a large meal at their couchsurfing place… Everyone ordered what they want. Me, Anders and Everita only beer and snacks. Unfortunately after a meal there was some misunderstanding about the the prices we had to pay. After 20 minutes and loud discussion situation was more or less solved. I don’t like to participate on such events, so I didn’t.
At that time the Sun was no more shining, it was warm and it was not raining. We decided to go to Kok-tobe by cable-way to watch the city from above. Up there was lot of commercial stuff. Not really interested in. But overall very nice and clean. We were walking around, taking some pictures, visiting mini zoo (free).
Slowly not hurrying anywhere we decided to go to the train station by foot. Everyone was worn-out. Some took a nap. Some recovered by eating something. After a while Agnese notices that we can go to the train and there is attendant who speaks only Chinese. The train is nice, made by Chinese plastics. The attendant is checking our body temperatures by some infrared thermometer. Everything is OK. Again, we need to fill up some papers for Chinese border. Soon after that we go to sleep.