Almaty – largest city in Kazakhstan and it used to be the capital until 1997. It is set at the bottom of the Trans-Ili Alatau mountains which are always visible and form a beautiful backdrop to the city. Modern with good restaurants, shopping malls and broad streets. You can use your credit card in most places and there are many money changers, the main language is Russian as it is in all the Stan’s. One metro line and buses that go everywhere, use the HERE maps app to see the bus routes, Yandex taxi works here as well. First step is to get a Metro card which works on the buses and trains, cost 500 Tenge ($1.25) and load it with credit 80 Tenge per ride ($0.020), next a Tele2 SIM card, cost 200T and 2,700 credit ($7) which gave me 25GB, 180 min calls and 100 SMS, it started working immediately and no ID required.
I have friends here and they showed me around, its amazing what a difference this makes. They welcomed me into their homes and organised everything for me, thank you.
A note of caution, I developed a very bad stomach problem, nausea, cramps, diarrhea and only got rid of it after a course of antibiotics (which I carry with me). The upside of this is that I lost the few kilos I had put on in the previous month hahaha.
Today was High School Graduation Day for the whole country and kids were out and about celebrating.
Kirov Torpedo Plant – this is not a tourist attraction, my visit was arranged by someone who works there, photos only allowed in the area that is in ruins and I did not get to visit the high security area either . It is in the process of being decommissioned, it once employed 5000 people but now only 400 oldies remain to work the 7o’s equipment. The Manager that took me around had worked at the plant since he was sixteen and was very knowledgeable.
The Theatre, The Museum, The Mall, The Arena and a Home Cooked Meal.