THE TIME OF JOLLY MISSIONS,
OR COMBINING BUSINESS AND PLEASURE
Author: Vitaliy Shuptar (Karaganda, Kazakhstan)
Photos: Alexandr Yermolyonok, Vitaliy Shuptar, Irina Kuryanova
Time: 2005-2006 years
Someone obviously clever said that while traveling and seeing other countries which are better than one’s own, man can make better the country where he lives, too. I do not want to say that Nepal , the trip to which changed my life greatly in a way, is better than Kazakhstan . Finally, all the countries are interesting in their own way and to compare them is thankless task. But that voyage of mine in 2004 simply was the trip to a country which had been ‘better described’. And it was after that trip that the idea to write a guidebook to Kazakhstan which appeared shortly before the travel strengthened and became overgrown with specialities and details.
I traveled around the country, using every opportunity granted to me, both working on the book within the limits of Avalon Historico-Geographical Society and without any obvious purpose. The trips were of different nature, both rather civilized ones (of which tell the first ten stories of this collection) and indecently vagrant-like (the last six stories). The work on the guidebook to Kazakhstan began a few months before Coelho published his ‘Zahir’ and was over after the famous scandalous film about Borat Sagdiyev was released. By that time Kazakhstan had begun to turn from known-to-no-one and featureless ‘stan’ to the country arousing interest of numerous tourists abroad.
Not all the places in Kazakhstan helped form my positive opinion, though it should not have been this way. Let those people living in the places I spoke of negatively take no offence at me. Instead of taking offence they had better think that a foreign tourist might notice those negative moments I saw. They should not take offence but try to rectify the situation if, of course, the people be not indifferent to the future of their native places.
1. FAST FORWARD - Astana city
DO NOT ARGUE WITH LONELY PLANET! - Aktobe city
VOLNITSA OF URALSK - Uralsk city
LAND OF CHEAP STURGEON AND EXPENSIVE GASOLINE - Atyrau city
THE SEA OF OUR OWN… - Aktau city
SHASHLYK AS A COMPENSATION - Shymkent city
BETWEEN THE RIVERS AKSU AND ZHABAGLY - Aksu-Zhabagly nature preserve
BREATH OF MILLENIUMS - Turkestan city
THE CITY BY THE MOUNTAINS - Almaty city
HOSPITABLE TARAZ - Taraz city
HITCHHIKING TO ULYTAU - Ulytau mountains
FROSTY HOLIDAYS - Bayanaul mountains
STATION DARIJA - Bugyly mountains
KARKARALINSK ECOTOUR - Karkaraly mountains
SEARCHING FOR BRONZE AND LOST ARCHAEOLOGISTS - Kent mountains
LAVISH FEAST IN THE BARREN STEPPE - Betpak-Dala desert