Thursday, October 07, 2004

The Road To Astana (From Doug In Kazakhstan)

My friend Doug works in London doing research on Russian and Central/Eastern European corporations that issue bonds. These are his notes and pictures from a recent trip to Kazakhstan, which is the size of Argentina or India with the population of Texas.

"A typical example of Kazakh restraint, here reflected in the architecture of a restaurant in Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan that they are building in the desert. "

"Horse milk on the left, camel's milk on the right. No, it does not taste like cow's milk. Blaring music, lasers, and an elaborate Las Vegas-style show at this restaurant helped prepare us for the evening's adventures in Almaty (biggest city and former capital of Kazakhstan) "

"This is warmed horse fat. Thankfully, the flavor is not intense as that of horse stomach (consumed but not photographed). The texture was neither better nor worse than you might expect."

"Stories of high vodka consumption in Kazakhstan are apparently overblown. : - )"
"Later, at a karaoke joint, a spirited local girl challenged every man in the group to an arm-wrestling match. In our sample study, the formerly nomadic race prevails over the Poles and Germans regardless of gender. As the sole representative of the sole super power, I was relieved to fare somewhat better than my colleagues. We would have gotten married but there was a 4:20am plane to catch."

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