As I often tell my writing students, a good story always starts with something going wrong. So when I caught myself writing a summary post about the best meal, prettiest town, most charming B&B and most spectacular scenery etc of the past five months, I thought, ‘Stop that immediately, Richard! Everyone prefers reading about your disasters.’
So here are my worst travel experiences of the past five months: Continue reading
A coffee table book shows Kazakhstan’s gorgeous snow-capped mountains, spectacular waterfalls, deep forests and fields of wildflowers. I’m sure they’re terrific, but none of them are anywhere near Atyrau.
A typical street in Atyrau; well surfaced, not too busy, surrounded by apartments.
Kazakhstan is a big country, the ninth largest on earth, and very diverse. Atyrau is 2700km from the old capital Almaty. Everybody says that Almaty is lovely. Continue reading
I really don't know what camels do when you get close to them.
‘Richard, we’ve found some guys in Atyrau who’d like to take you cycling after you finish your teaching day. They say bring your own helmet and pedals.’
That could mean that people in Kazakhstan pick up rusty bike frames by the roadside and cobble together a rideable machine by adding bits and pieces.
Or these guys could be rather serious cyclists. Both possibilities are dangerous. Continue reading