We were supposed to go to Uzbekistan as part of our Silk Road adventure, but there’s a State Department travel warning (or was) so we flew into Kazakhstan instead.
Yes, Kazakhstan: the country made infamous by Sacha Baron Cohen, aka, Borat.
So everybody kind of modified their expectations and our first view of Almaty, the main city, didn’t do anything to lift them. But then we started touring around, and Kazakhstan turned out to be a sleeper hit on the last leg of this long jet journey.
We visited a falconer (where I shot the above sea eagle, D90, 70-300mm VR, Vivid jpeg, ISO 400, Aperture Priority wide open) and got great looks at a variety of raptors, attended an Orthodox service in the Cathedral of the Assumption in the main park, heard a variety of unique folk instruments playing haunting melodies at the music museum.
We hit a big open market where all the vendors were friendly and open to being photographed, and ate some great food. Authentic and as yet unspoiled by mass tourism, K’stan is on my bucket list to come back and explore in depth. For a look at some of the situations that convinced me that Sacha Baron Cohen was all wet, hit the jump.