Shymkent-Kazhakstan's third largest city..

Trip Start Apr 26, 2012
Trip End Oct 31, 2012

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Flag of Kazakhstan  ,
Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The overnight train trip to Shymkent was fairly uneventful and almost comfortable if it wasn't for the fact the Air-Con only worked when the train was moving rapidly and that wasn’t all that often. So whilst the beds were comfy and our travelling companions pleasant enough – a dad with two cute little girls – we had a hard time sleeping while bathed in our own sweat…

On arrival in Shymkent the taxi drivers immediately tried pissing in our ears with exorbitant prices for the one and a half kms to our hotel. Armed with the knowledge it was walk able, we couldn’t even be bothered negotiating, instead walking off down the road to their collective dismay.

It took us about 30 minutes, and while it was uphill but the streets were shady and it was only 7.30 in the morning so we arrived in good shape. The cheaper room at 5400 Tenge ($35 including breakfast) at the Hotel Ordabasy was perfectly OK for our needs, akthough the watermelon pink walls were a little hard on the eyes. Clean, Air-Con and ensuite bathroom. The breakfast was extremely substantial as well. About three or four courses and stodgy enough to stay in the tummy until well into the afternoon.

We met a Kiwi-Australian couple who filled us in on all the local sites to see, which included the local museum, the brand new memorial come park thingy where there were lots of wedding party photos happenning in the evenings and nearby Turkistan. Armed with that information and promising to catch up for a beer later on we wandered out to see the sites.

Shymkent is a pretty laid back place. It’s similar in some respects to Almaty but not nearly as "fashionable". The local museum was interesting to a point but not labeled in English so we were left to deduce what some of the displays were about. There were quite a few stuffed animal exhibits showing the local fauna, most of which had seen better days but gave us some idea of the diversity around.

It was pretty damn hot in the middle of the day so we sought refuge in a modern air conditioned café and availed ourselves of shaslicks, salad, bread and the locally brewed offering – Shymkenska Beer after which we toddled home for a rest before meeting the others for a few beers before they headed off to Almaty.

The next day we would make an attempt to head out to Turkistan on the local transport. By all accounts a simple task but we would see…
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