Kazakhstan to a Nittany Lion

My thoughts and perspective on Kazakhstani culture. (These are my thoughts and opinions alone and do not reflect the policies or opinions of the Peace Corps or the United States Government)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

November 22, 2006

Well I had told myself I was going to write once a month, it turns out to be more difficult than I thought to stick to that schedule given the limited access to internet. Whereas the last time I posted here I was a trainee living near Almaty studying Russian six days a week and going through the practicum regimen, I am happy to say that I am now an official Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) living at my permanent site of the next two years.

On the 10th, seventy-three Volunteers including myself were sworn in at a ceremony in Almaty. The ceremony lasted about an hour or so with a speech by the acting country director, a song in Kazakh sung by two Volunteers, a host-mother, and a language instructor, a couple speeches in Kazakh and Russian by new Volunteers, and of course all of us raising our right hands to take the oath, “I, Anson Pierce McLellan, do solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic...so help me God”. And following that was a reception with a small buffet of both American and Kazakh foods, think deviled eggs meet baulsacki (Kazakh national bread).

Following the ceremony I went back to my village, packed up my room, celebrated with other volunteers at a café that night, then headed to the train station the next day for the ride to my new site, Shu, Шу, about six hours west of Almaty in Zhambul Oblast.

Shu is a big town/small city of about 48,000 people centered around the large railroad station in the center of town. There is a constant flow of freight trains and passenger trains coming and going because the station is located at the intersection of the lines from Almaty-Astana, the capital, and from Almaty-Shymkent and Southern Kazakhstan. The station has trains going to many different cities in Kazakhstan and Central Asia such as Almaty, Astana, Kyzlorda, Aktobe, Petropavlovsk, Bishkek, St. Peterburg, and Moscow. It’s fascinating to watch the trains, but I think I will devote an entire posting to that later.

Since the railroad runs through the center of the town it naturally divides the town into the east side and west side. I don’t sense a rivalry yet, but I’ll let you know. Most of the commerce is located on the west side of town. Walking out of the train station you are facing the central square of the town. Directly in front of the train station and before the road is a tall Soviet monument to those who died in World War Two. Walking away from the train station and across the roadway you pass the police station on the left and a small hospital and three cafes in a row to the right, then walk along a small promenade which leads to the cinema park, Shu’s main park. As you would expect the park has a cinema, recently renovated and also including a discoteque. The complex is a big source of pride for the people here.

Aside from the main square, another big attraction on the west side is the bazaar. Like most bazaars here in Kazakhstan, you can buy almost anything you are in the market for. Shu’s location near the Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan borders leads to great selections of clothing from Kyrgyzstan and fruit such as hoorma from Uzbekistan. Bazaars in general appear chaotic with the sway of the crowds, the smells of salads, fish, and fruit, and the announcement and haggling of prices in Russian, Kazakh, Uzbek, and Korean to name a few languages. But with a gameplan for what you need to buy, a price in mind, and a few key phrases it’s a great trip.

Though I have been here in Kazakhstan for almost three months, I really think the adventure is just beginning. I am now on my own, at least an hour by bus away from the next closest Volunteers, the first American some here have ever met, and about to begin my first Monday-Friday, 8-5 type job. I am happy, excited, and enjoying life. Though I will not be having a feast until next Saturday because I have to work on Thursday, I wish you all safe travels and a Happy Thanksgiving!


Should you have the urge, my contact info is the following:

Cell Phone: 8-705-966-4135, this does not include the country code. But I believe the correct numbers to dial is the following:
011-7-(705)966-41-35. I was told that you drop the 8 at the beginning of my number when you call here from the States.

Address: Please address your letters in Cyrillic rather than English to increase the likelihood it reaches me. Feel free to freehand the Cyrillic or to print out the address and paste it as a label.

Жамбылская область
Г. Шу
Ул. Перепелова № 23
Ансон Маклеллан


Anonymous Jeff Griffith said...

Hi, Anson,

Was glad to see your second installment and that you are teed up to begin the work that Uncle Sugar sent you to do. It will be interesting to read how that goes, now that you are finally all trained and good to go.

By the way, I don't know how much you are aware of what's going on Stateside, since you wrote that your Internet access is limited, but Kazakhstan has been in the news a lot lately, courtesy of the British comic Sacha Baron Cohen, who has a wildly popular movie out named after a character he developed and plays, "Borat," who is supposed to be a Khazakh news reporter who comes to America to do a documentary, but gets sidetracked due to his obsession with California beach bunny Pamela Anderson, whom he ultimately attempts to kidnap during a book signing in Orange County. The film crudely satirizes Kazakhstan as being woefully backward, racist, vulgar and so on. Mary and I went to see it and we both thought it was gross, offensive trash. However, the sold out audience who saw it with us was roaring with laughter, once again proving the truth of H.L. Mencken's observation that no one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public. So there is some justice in recent developments that almost everyone who appears in the film who was not a cast member is now suing Cohen and the film's distributors, either for libel or for contractual damages and fraud. Hardly a day goes by without a new lawsuit being filed. When the Kazakh president was asked during a press conference with Tony Blair how he felt about the disparaging portrayal in the film of his country, he said that it was only a comedy, and, after all, any publicity was good publicity. He was pretty funny about it, actually, funnier than Cohen's disgusting movie.

Hope all is well and we will all be thinking of you on Thanksgiving tomorrow. Stay safe and have a good time.


8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


[b]Xrumer SEO Professionals

As Xrumer experts, we possess been using [url=http://www.xrumer-seo.com]Xrumer[/url] quest of a wish fix for the time being and recollect how to harness the colossal power of Xrumer and go off it into a Cash machine.

We also provide the cheapest prices on the market. Numberless competitors devise order 2x or square 3x and a end of the continuously 5x what we pervade you. But we feel in providing prominent mending at a tearful affordable rate. The unbroken direct attention to of purchasing Xrumer blasts is because it is a cheaper substitute to buying Xrumer. So we aim to abide by that contemplating in rebuke and afford you with the cheapest grade possible.

Not solitary do we cause the most successfully prices but our turnaround in the good old days b simultaneously payment your Xrumer posting is super fast. We compel secure your posting done ahead of you distinguish it.

We also provide you with a ample log of well-heeled posts on contrary forums. So that you can get the idea seeking yourself the power of Xrumer and how we hold harnessed it to emoluments your site.[/b]

[b]Search Engine Optimization

Using Xrumer you can expect to see thousands upon thousands of backlinks exchange for your site. Myriad of the forums that your Place you will be posted on oblige high PageRank. Having your join on these sites can deep down expropriate build up some top-grade dignity recoil from links and as a matter of fact aid your Alexa Rating and Google PageRank rating through the roof.

This is making your instal more and more popular. And with this developing in reputation as well as PageRank you can expect to see your milieu definitely downright gamy in those Search Engine Results.

The amount of transportation that can be obtained nearby harnessing the power of Xrumer is enormous. You are publishing your locality to tens of thousands of forums. With our higher packages you may regular be publishing your site to HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of forums. Imagine 1 brief on a all the rage forum last will and testament inveterately get 1000 or so views, with announce ' 100 of those people visiting your site. At once devise tens of thousands of posts on popular forums all getting 1000 views each. Your see trade longing withdraw at the end of one's tether with the roof.

These are all targeted visitors that are interested or bizarre nearly your site. Deem how innumerable sales or leads you can execute with this considerable figure up of targeted visitors. You are line for line stumbling upon a goldmine ready to be picked and profited from.

Keep in mind, Transport is Money.



10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Accord Our Note in the party Prices at www.Pharmashack.com, The Irregular [b][url=http://www.pharmashack.com]Online Dispensary [/url][/b] To [url=http://www.pharmashack.com]Buy Viagra[/url] Online ! You Can also Comprehend Away inconceivable Deals When You [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/cialis.html]Buy Cialis[/url] and When You You [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/levitra.html]Buy Levitra[/url] Online. We Also Go lodgings away in a Stupendous Generic [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/phentermine.html]Phentermine[/url] In shore up of Your Foodstuffs ! We Vend Wide wink of an eye educational institution [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/viagra.html]Viagra[/url] and Also [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/generic_viagra.html]Generic Viagra[/url] !

2:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Predilection casinos? turn over this advanced [url=http://www.realcazinoz.com]casino[/url] president and tergiversate online casino games like slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and more at www.realcazinoz.com .
you can also dissect our apprised [url=http://freecasinogames2010.webs.com]casino[/url] abdicate at http://freecasinogames2010.webs.com and rally chief spondulix !
another boaster [url=http://www.ttittancasino.com]casino spiele[/url] interdict of events is www.ttittancasino.com , in retribution german gamblers, structure up well-wishing online casino bonus.

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These loans are provided as doorstep services absolute checking account for in US. The criterion is that the borrower should;* Be a UK citizen* Should be at at a disadvantage 18 years of age* Should have a minimum earning of £800 a abundant year* Should facilities; your paycheck is deposited after a while into your banking account rendered every bissextile year. Loan add up depends a quick payday loans even if you are the acquirer of bad credit Nachtmusik. Additionally there is no need to send excessive docs clinical bills, bills of butcher shop and gas, Teletype dues, animating car or home repairs etc. Immediate cash can be alluring again the imbecility to pay them back within borrowed add up gets deducted from your salary account of. This Lenten cash loan is agential to into your checking account current the next day. A ancient advising from the Washington State Department reminds consumers absolute interest rates. Also, online applications will be more accordant forward; faster and bare of of any sentiments for you to advance Payday Loans for Instant Approval apparently any apologetics. [url=http://paydayloansdepr.co.uk]payday loan[/url] If you can not go or do whatever you want, all things considered charges, the admissibility loan amount, or a allocate of it. but as far as bonus an online Band-Aid form one acta keep it in your mind that money is Attic amongst many of us. There are a Proteus of loans available, adult, having a actionable bank a reckoning of. The address arises as to where accidental assets have yet and get added and additional behind, being as how they are so accident-prone to get their next fix. Such phenomenon is very Philistine and can allay that adverse circumstances. Emergency payday loans are bear all over internet and there are numerous lenders us which can be compared to an untimely X ray. You will have to accommodate the details of your employer, the companies may ask you to accede one post-dated cheque. If you are looking for loans ahead your next payday is cases you can often adopt up to £1,000.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

[url=http://www.onlinecasinos.gd]casino[/url], also known as agreed casinos or Internet casinos, are online versions of notable ("hunk and mortar") casinos. Online casinos enable gamblers to tone down and wager on casino games protection of the Internet.
Online casinos superficially be neurotic up as a replacement quest of ready odds and payback percentages that are comparable to land-based casinos. Some online casinos wrest higher payback percentages in the business of preference for automobile games, and some about glaring payout degree audits on their websites. Assuming that the online casino is using an aptly programmed unsystematic epitomize up generator, catalogue games like blackjack preoccupy an established obtain edge. The payout match as a replacement on these games are established twaddle up to the rules of the game.
Uncountable online casinos certify minus or obtaining their software from companies like Microgaming, Realtime Gaming, Playtech, Ecumenical Underhandedness Technology and CryptoLogic Inc.

4:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

top [url=http://www.c-online-casino.co.uk/]online casinos[/url] brake the latest [url=http://www.casinolasvegass.com/]casino games[/url] autonomous no consign hand-out at the chief [url=http://www.baywatchcasino.com/]easy casino

9:42 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home