Border Formalities

Border crossings are not enjoyable experiences, even in developed countries. This picture was taken at a remote post on the Kyrgyz Kazakh border. I am shaking hands with the head of the outpost. His lieutenant is on the left. It took a tense half hour to get out of Kyrgyzstan and into Kazakhstan, even though it seemed that only a dozen or so people cross here every day. It is amazing that I could even get a picture like this. Everyone knows that you don't pull out a camera around border crossings. After everything was stamped and I was heading out the door the honcho asked it he could take his picture with me. I could not believe it. Apparently he had never seen anyone like me at this outpost.



The Road

Kazakhstan is gigantic. It is the size of western Europe, but only has a population of 17,000,000. The roads go on forever.




The capital of Kazakhstan was recently moved from Almaty to Astana. Almaty is less than 200 miles from the border with China and has a population of more than one million. Sometimes it feels more like Russia than Central Asia.




These old buses are soon to be replaced by a subway.



The Great Patriotic War

Most of the Soviet Era statuary has been cleared away. However, this monument to Kazakh participation in the Second World War remains.



St. Nicholas Cathedral

Because Almaty was built by the Russians, it is only fitting that it should have a Russian Orthodox Cathedral. In fact every city in Central Asia has at least one, along with the Moslem mosques.