25th August 2017: The day we fly off from Almaty (Chin Joo Ern)
The next day, we woke up, had a hearty breakfast of oats, lowered the Singapore flag from Karaka Base Camp and took pictures with Mr Kazbek and the rest of the team that hosted us at Karaka Base Camp before beginning the long journey back to Almaty.
This was to be a 6 hours ride during which a chicken and mutton Shashlik (giant satay) teaser was consumed. We reached Hotel Kazzhol at 1515, kept the luggage in the room and were out by 1615, ready to devour 10,000 tenge of Shashlik (which we did with much pleasure). This was followed by a massive tour of Almaty, led by the team’s GPS, Wesley. The tour covered the endless weave of stalls in the Green Shopping District (where candy was purchased until the stall owner had to chase us out due to the extended closing time), sprawling Almaty National Park (which had rollercoasters, castles, its own railway and bus network, food and plenty of trees), a trip on the local public transport which consisted of a bus and train ride (the entire Almaty network actually) before the team was satisfied with its immersion in Almaty’s culture and was ready to head back to the hotel for a quick pack up before the long flight to Bangkok on Air Astana.
A few things surprised the team during the time spent in Almaty:
1. We never expected it to have such amazing candy
2. The metro was almost identical to Singapore’s (albeit significantly smaller in scale)
3. Shashlik, Meat of the Gods, is found here
4. All fruits and vegetables were extremely sweet and came with a free upsize
That concludes our adventures in Central Asia. After a short break on the Air Astana flight, we were to find ourselves devouring South East Asian Street Cuisine with careless abandon for about 6 hours in Bangkok – but that is a story for another time.