Almaty, Kazakhstan
Date: Lodging: Distance: Total:
21/03/1999 Hyatt Regency Almaty 252 KM 13307 KM

Kazak roadside tombstones

On the way to the Kazak border crossing

More extraordinary mountains of Kazakhstan

Wall around a Kazak graveyard

Kazak graveyard

The Kazaks bury the victims of car accidents by the road where the accident took place.

We found this Kazak man at a roadside stand.

We often see mounds of coal on the roadside.

Factories spew black waste from their smokestacks in the Kazakhstan countryside.

Jim, aiming for a great photo, chases the animals up a hill.

A close up of the boys -- we think they were brothers.

These boys posed eagerly in front of our car.

Signs in Russian and English

A shepherd steering one of his animals -- we see this type of scene on every drive since leaving Europe.

Extraordinary mountains of Kazakhstan

Toilets -- no flushing required!

Water fountain with a yurt (homes the nomads originated) located in a roadside truckstop in Kazakhstan.

Water fountains are common, but ones like this one -- with a bear spouting liquid -- are rare.

Paige and Jim stand with their new friends. The yurt had electricity and gas, unlike traditional yurts that were moved with each season.

Paige and Jim pose in the yurt.

Ventilation hole in the top of the yurt

The yurt owners prepare lunch for us.

Paige and the yurt owner

Our car positioned in front of the small yurt village, where we ate lunch.

A young woman, who spoke a little English, invited us into her yurt for lunch. Behind her is a man cooking shashlyk on the grill.

We stopped at a roadside stand for lunch. We ended up eating bread, boiled eggs, shashlyk and drinking tea in a yurt.

21 March 1999 - Fifty kilometers before Almaty, we stopped for lunch on the side of the road at a yurt stop (15 yurts congregated by the highway). Honestly, twenty people rose from homemade seats cheering our yellow sensation as we parked! They had never seen anything like us pull up. Irene, a 22-year-old, brown-haired Kazak woman, invited us for tea in her yurt. Along with her mother, she served us meat, onions, bread, boiled eggs and sweet tea. In broken English, college-educated Irene, with excited, sparkling eyes, said we were the first Americans she had met. She reminded me of a double rainbow, a rare find. Our differences in country, color and culture simply did not matter. Before leaving, we took a Polaroid picture beside our car with Irene and her mother. Irene hugged me saying, ā€œIā€™m so proud,ā€ and ran to her yurt for something she valued in return. She presented me with a disposable, pink plastic pen, now a prized possession.


  The Kazakhstan border (Jim and Paige)