Cardinal József Mindszenty
1956 Hungarian Revolution (My Story)
(My Eyewitness story of our Freedomfight
and Resistance against the Soviet Invasion)
50th Anniversary of our Freedomfight
My Travel and Photos Pages
America - North
America - Central
America - South
My Kazakhstan pages directory
Kazakhstan facts & history in brief
My Kazakhstan directory
Map of Kazakhstan
A few samples of the Almaty tram stock
Almaty Trams 2007
You can click on these photos for an enlargement.
Hui Chin and I took a bus from Bishkek in Kyrgizstan to
Almaty (Good old Alma Ata) in Kazakhstan and we lived
through some very unusual and unforgettable experiences.
It really started in Beijing trying to get our Visas.
We stood in the queue outside the Consular Office for about
five hours and we were the next one to go in, when we were
told that's it for the day, we'll have to come back tomorrow.
I had a very sore ankle, that was dislocated about 12
month before and had a habit of recurring pain, real pain.
This was one of those recurring pain times, although
we both tried to sit down at the curb-side, to me
it appeared more uncomfortable at times,
than standing around in the queue, were at least we
could diversify by talking to some one.
We decided to get some kind of stools to take
along next morning.
We were very fortunate, on our way to the market
we found some very small, very fancy little stools,
very cheap too, just around the corner from our hotel.
We went, armed with our stools before five a.m. to
make sure we'll be the first ones in.
There were about 8 people there already, some waiting
since 3 a.m.
Anyway, we did get our visas, by 10.30 a.m.
We visited a few other places in China after Beijing
and Kyrgizstan was on our itinerary before we went
to Almaty, so we decided to get a bus to Almaty.
We chosen an official bus, which was in the bus station
and took a while to fill up and they wouldn't leave until
they are full, never mind about a timetable.
The official buses are cheaper, but take longer to fill,
because the unofficial, minibuses grab all the intending
bus passengers at the front gate.
There was a young Kazakh lady travelling on the bus with us,
she was beautiful, very helpful, well educated and
she spoke very good English.
The bus from Bishkek to Almaty, - about 4 hours bus ride -
have to cross the border, about halfway into the journey.
We had to walk from the Kyrgiz Border Post to the Kazakh
Border Post and our trouble started just about immediately.
I taken a couple photos of the border and the guards, which
is a very big no, no around here.
So I had a bit of a run in with one of the officers, and
the nice young lady was standing aside
just in case she was needed.
We had to pile into, - about 200 of us - a small room, that
normally would have trouble holding 50 of us.
There was heaving and showing, everybody tried to get to the
counter in a very big hurry, and many even chatted up
total strangers as "Papa" just to get near the counters.
We had suitcases, backpacks and shoulderbags etc. and the
pushing and shoving just got worst all the time.
We both were very worried about 'pickpockets' in this bedlam.
The young lady was right beside us, although being a local
she could have gone straight through.
She was even yelling at the crowd to give us a chance,
and don't show us, tourist a bad impression.
Things eased off momentarily, but only momentarily.
We didn't need the young lady's help here neither,
but it sure felt comforting that she made herself available
if the need arise, she knew we didn't speak neither of the
local lingo or Russian.
After about a hour of that over packed 'live sardines' in a
small tin, we got through and soon were on our way.
Well, the 'soon' was after our driver and our young lady
went back to the guard post to look for a missing passenger.
That took about 20 - 30 minutes, they didn't find him, so we
left and arrived in Almaty about 2 hours later.
With one of our suit cases got damaged in the back of the bus
we had some trouble dragging it along on a very hot afternoon
on the streets of Almaty to find ourselves a hotel.
We normally don't use taxis, because of the cost and this
particular time we didn't even have any of the local money.
I suppose we could have changed some money at the bus
station, if we thought about it at the time, or if we could
find a money changer, our immediate worry was to find a hotel
near or in the city centre as soon as possible.
Of course we didn't know where was the city centre and no one
could understand us either.
After about 2 km rambling along a long bridge, we seen a hotel
and tried to book in, without worrying about
the city centre right then.
I had all sort of trouble getting through to the receptionist,
luckily one of the staff - more willing to listen and try to
understand me and probably more intelligent too, figured
things out, written down the room rate, lent her glasses to
me so I can see those figures etc. than she also explained
to me by all sorts of sign language, that we
need the room rate now to book in.
After some more 'argy-bargy', she also shown me a
money changer across the road. (How convenient?
After all those goings on).
Meanwhile Hui Chin was waiting and wondering what was
going on, down at street level minding our luggage.
Hotelled, scrubbed and slept, spent the next
couple days exploring Almaty from head to toe.
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