Thursday, April 18, 2013

A lazy poster, I...

I haven't posted in a while...I am an extremely lazy poster...

But I have been a little bit busier...I went on a trip to Astana, which was a very neat experience.  I went with a group of students of Zarina's from the Pushkin Library American Corner.  I think there was about twenty of them.   They were nice kids, but they could drive Zarina  a little wild at times.

Our trip was a nice one overall...I got to see some stuff I probably wouldn't have been able to see otherwise as this trip had excursions planned.  I was able to see the national symphony hall, the palace of independence, some interesting malls, and of course, the Bayterek.

It was very cool to see the places, but the problem is that despite their desire to make the place more of a spot for tourists to come to, they are not quite there...I've heard that everything in Astana is supposed to be tri-lingual (Kazakh, Russian, and English) they have not really developed it besides sometimes having an English menu at a restaurant.  I have yet to see a museum exhibit in English or anything to that effect.  Likewise, even in Astana the streets are mostly dirty and I can't really say there is much to really draw tourists there.  The national symphony hall is smaller than the one they've got in Kansas City where I saw the Red Army Song and Dance Ensemble and the Palace of Independence really only had a model of Astana as it plans to be in twenty years or so.  Personally, I liked Almaty better--though again, not many places are really developed for tourists. 

But the trip was good, the students were an interesting bunch and I was able to learn about life for Kazakh teenagers, as well as teach a couple of students some poker hands (though only bastardized Texas Hold'em...) and train rides are always an (awful) adventure.

So, I didn't really have much to say here, but what drove  me to post was that I received a package from my family--and I felt I owed them a little something since they sent me spam, hot sauce, Jack Stack BBQ Sauce, and some other stuff!  I should mention that one of the packages looked like it had been opened and Victor suggests next time you guys should make a list and tell us the order things were packed in.

Anyway, last classes of the week are tomorrow and saturday, and it is very late here...but I watched the Hobbit...and it was pretty good.  I was a little concerned about them stretching it out for three movies, but it didn't feel like they were padding it too badly...though some of the "humor" stuff was a little far for me...

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