Kok Tobe

Trip Start Sep 30, 2007
Trip End Dec 30, 2007

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Flag of Kazakhstan  ,
Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Well today was a public holiday here in Kazakhstan, with Independence Day being on the Sunday a long weekend seems to have been given to most schools and other enterprises.
After being kept awake till 4 in the morning by the fireworks that were going off around the city of almaty on Sunday and again on Monday you can see why everyone needed a 4 day weekend. Although I did notice that because it is the end of the finacial year here people are working overtime, all over the place so maybe they deserve it.

Anyway with no one around to interview today we took a excursion up to the Green Hill or Geen Top also kown in Almaty as Kok Tobe just above the city where the TV tower is situated. A local sightseeing excursion and one mainly used by couples and young families Kok Tobe is fairly good value. You take the newly built swiss cable car to the top of the mountain (about 1,100 meters)  and  there you find a small zoo, soveniers stores a very good bistro (I can recomend the chicken and mushroom pancakes, pizza and shashlik ) and heaps of places selling the prerequiste beer, and hot chocolate, as well as a playground and a fast coaster which is kind of like a rollercoaster crossed with a one person car shaped luge.

Getting up there I found it seemed to be a quiet place for young couples to go on the own as a romantic date spot. There were lots of young couples getting to know one another. And I guess there parents feel it is an ok spot to date as there  is always people walking around, no real quiet spots wherie girls could be taken advantage off and security cameras everywhere so it is very safe.

There is also an art gallery up there in a yurt which was really nice, it had incredible paintings and artisans working throughout the stores who try to find a market for their goods. It is sad that art and culture seem to be taking a little of a back seat as the consumer culture takes over, but it is nice to know some people can still make it.

There also seems to be a wedding function area which makes sense as it is a fantastic spot.
But weirdest of all was the area denoted to the beatles statues where you can sit and have your photo taken with bronze replicas of John, Ringo, Paul and George. It was bizarre to be standing in the middle of central asia
listening to the beatles been piped out on the overhead speakers and
explaining to Lily and Heath who the beatles were etc and why the four
from Liverpool were here in the middle of central asia. One of those Kazakh moments I guess like when you stop at the zebra crossing waiting for the lights to change and a man on a horse pulls up beside you.

The view from up there was amazing and well worth the 500 tenge Daniel and I paid to go up there. (Kids under 7 were free)  But it was the clean air that really got me, I certainly did not want to leave but with night closing in we left to enjoy a walk back through the city. 
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