Across Continents

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Arrival in Atyrau

We’d final made it. Kazakhstan. Atyrau in the west, at the north end of the Caspian Sea. A few formalities, another X-ray for Emma, and we were in. I’d really been looking forward to this, ever since securing my visa back in Tbilisi, Georgia. Friendly, helpful Consular staff. First impressions do count.

Emerging from the small terminal building, I met Dave, a New Zealander and engineer in the local oil industry. And fellow cyclist. I’d spotted his western mountain bike and hailed him. He led the way towards Atyrau for a while before heading off across country. Cross the Ural river that divides the small city, Dave explained, and you’d be back in Asia. A brief foray back into Europe over, just a few kilometres.

Oil is big business here, yet Atyrau seems to have avoided the worst excesses of Baku, no exorbitant prices. Not that they don’t cater for a sizeable ex pat community or visiting petroleum executives. There is the odd five star hotel. And a few bars and eateries with a familiar Western feel. But with prices comparable to those you’d find in the UK. Bit tough on my own budget, but fair.

It’s early days here, but one thing is already very clear about Kazakhstan. Bears no resemblance to the country portrayed, much to the rightful consternation of its people, in a certain film a few years ago. But that’s probably because it was shot in Romania. Where, incidentally, the people also don’t look anything like the Kazakhs. Right, time to nip down to the local ’Guns and Roses’ pub for British beer and some familiar bar food. Satisfying my curiosity about the ex pat world here.


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One response to “Arrival in Atyrau”

  1. Brian Hawkeswood says:

    Good you maid it. Sounds like it worked out OK. Savannah said she missed you being in our place. See we don’t get that many visitors.
    Keep safe look forward to seeing some pictures.
    Brian and Savannah

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