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(Aktau City)

Aktau met us with the sun and heat as is due to any resort city. For some reason in a few minutes I understood that I would surely like being there. When on the map I saw the city situated on the cape jutting out into the blue reservoir signed the Caspian Sea I did not think much of how it looks in reality. I also did not expect to see and experience here real resort, even southern I would say, mood.

Caspian Sea
Sunset at Caspian Sea

On the seashore Sanya and I drank away a bottle of whisky Everest accompanied with lemon. This bottle of generous beverage was brought by me from the expedition around high mountains of Nepal. That is why it was especially pleasant to drink it here, on sea level, a peculiar zero altitude mark. It reminded well the film Knocking on Heavens Door, though without its inherent tragedy. But why will the tragedy appear, especially that very day? For we got in Aktau on May 25, when the pupils all over the city celebrated the Day of the Last Ring. In cities like Aktau the beach is the place to celebrate all significant events. In the city located in the heart of the steppe a small group of pupils would go to the park to have a picnic; but the choice of the local youth was univocal, Everyone to the beach!

During five days we spent in Aktau going for a walk along the beach in the evening became a habit with us. There we joined to the local population who massively caught tan and drank beer. Of course we saw those trying to bathe already in the Caspian Sea which had not been warmed well yet by the sun rays, but these people could be considered an exception rather than a rule. Mostly the folk strolled around the beach in the minimum clothes which let say that one is dressed but did not make him suffer from sweltering heat and hot sun. It concerns particularly girls whose slender bronzed bodies, not overburdened with much raggery could be seen in the center of the city, not to mention the beach.

Slenderness was also seen in the layout of the city, which was distinguishable from any other Kazakhstani city by complete absence of streets and avenues names. Instead of them there were over 20 numbered microdistricts, located logically in a few lines along the seashore. This logicality of the layout is explained by the fact that the city was literally started from scratch, copied down from the sketches of Leningrad architects to the sands of the Mangyshlak peninsula

The vicinity of the sea and absence of natural sources of fresh water resulted in developing such a field of medicine as stomatology. Aktau from the very beginning remained in memory due to the great number of clinics of this specialization. Local water obtained by desalination of sea-water does not actually exert good influence on teeth, that is why dentists have more than enough work here. Though from time to time I meditated whether it is possible to work in this city at all (especially in summer), when the air is imbued with the atmosphere of idleness and languor.

In our last evening in Aktau we climbed on the roof of one of the 9-storied buildings not far from the seashore and took photographs of the sunset for a long time. I obviously understand that such photos are absolute banality but he who saw the Sun setting in the sea will he understand our desire to capture in the best way what strikes once and for all and never ceases striking in future.

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