The Australian traveler Ben Groundwater visited Astana and was literally shocked by the capital. Before the trip to Kazakhstan, the foreigner was impressed by the film "Borat" and was very surprised when the expectations did not coincide with reality, writes NUR.KZ with reference to the news portal Stuff.
«Astana: The craziness that is the Kazakh capital. This is a city of ghosts, a strange piece of garbage flies past - like a rolling field. According to my guide, Dana, today there might even be a typhoon - like yesterday, tearing cladding off the city's modern buildings, forcing residents to flee for cover », - Ben begins his story.
When he arrived in the capital, on the street was only 5 degrees Celsius heat and icy wind.
Capital weather in his article he calls hell and goes to a warm beach in Khan-Shatyr, where "Astana residents are sipping cocktails on the Maldivian sand while outside the wind howls and the walls shake".
«The fake beach is just one of Astana's many feats of architectural wonde. It's a favourite spot for local Kazakhs on particularly cold days. The perfect place to thaw out and pretend you're somewhere else, somewhere warmer, somewhere nice. Though it does seem that there's nowhere most residents of Astana would prefer to be than their home town.», - wrote the traveler.
«Welcome to a city that's boldly attempting to define itself on the world stage, that has visions of Dubai-like grandeur and has taken significant steps towards achieving that goal, even though no one else seems to be watching. That's a sweet sentiment, though a little baffling. As so much of Astana is baffling. As so much of Kazakhstan itself – known to the rest of the world as the home of Borat, a fictitious oaf, but in fact a highly developed, multicultural hub – is baffling.», - says the Australian.
He remembers that there was almost nothing here 20 years ago - in Soviet Tselinograd, only a few thousand people lived in bleak apartment, and Nursultan Nazarbayev's announcement about the transfer of the capital from "beautiful, bustling Almaty" to "bleak Akmola" was a shock.
«Since that time Nazarbayev has poured money from Kazakhstan's resources boom into creating a world-class capital city, commissioning internationally renowned architects to pepper Astana with weird and wonderful structures. He's a strong ruler, they tell me, but a good one. One who has united the multiple ethnicities of the capital city. One who carries prosperity for a former Soviet badland in his iron fist.», - tells a foreigner.
In parallel, describing his journey to Instagram, Ben is surprised – «Kazakhstan has money. Lots of money».
«It has oil and coal and natural gas. It has a sparkling new capital city that has pretty much been built from scratch in the last 20 years. That capital city has crazy cool buildings like this one, the Astana Sphere, the world’s biggest sphere, that was built for Expo 2017 and now houses a museum dedicated to renewable energy. In other words: not exactly what I was expecting.», - he writes.
«They’re not big fans of Borat in Kazakhstan, as you’d imagine. “Why us?” my Kazakh guide asked me. “What did we do to anyone?” And fair enough too - most of the stuff Borat said about Kazakhstan was wildly untrue. Except for the food. In Borat’s world, Kazakhstan’s national dishes are horse meat and horse urine. That’s not quite true. They’re horse meat and horse milk.», - writes Ben in his Instagram.
Guide Dana treated Ben with beshbarmak - she introduced it as a dish that you cannot describe.
«And yet, I can describe it. It's horrible. It's oily from rendered horse fat; intensely equine in flavour. I can barely manage more than a few polite bites, bites that I'm forced to wash down with kumis, the traditional drink of fermented horse milk. This is not my idea of a good time. Kazakhs, of course, love it, in the same way they love Nazarbayev, in the same way they love their new capital city, in the same way they even seem to love the weather – or can at least manage to find something good to say about it.», - tells the foreigner.
Strolling the banks of the Ishim River, the guide told Ben that Astana is only world's second-coldest capital city:
«Ulaan Baator beats us - anyway, it's not so bad. Sometimes here in the winter it will be minus 30 degrees, but really, with the sun shining, it will only feel like minus 10.». «Sounds perfect, to me, for a trip to the beach.», - sarcastically concludes the Australian.