A Room with a View …

On my most recent trip to Kazakhstan I moved from a hotel into an apartment. Despite the hotel being very swanky indeed I was really looking forward to having some space and being able to cook for myself.

Here was the view, from the 13th floor during my most recent visit. Give it a couple of months and that river will be frozen solid and the whole place will be covered in snow.

View across the Ural River

The river you can see is the Ural. This river splits Atyrau between Europe on one side and Asia on the other. My side is the European side. The gated community containing the grey roofed houses is where my company houses its expat families who are on 3 year overseas assignments. They have all mod cons over there!

Here’s my lounge, complete with huge TV and DVD player … and ghastly dried flower arrangement!

… and heres the kitchen.


The first thing I did after ditching my bags was to visit the supermarket for a few essentials.


It’s all a bit hit and miss. For example I brought a tin of sliced mushrooms as the ‘fresh’ weren’t so fresh, only to find I didn’t have a tin opener! Also the price of fresh fruit and vegetables is ridiculous. At one point in week 2 I was so desperate for some colour that I spent £5 on a red pepper! I did however find very good and cheap local bread 37p a loaf …

Kazakh Bread

… and these yummy Chechel flavoured snacks. Chechel is a stringy smoked cheese from Azerbajan which is a bar snack in Kazakhstan.

Chechel Snacks

The good news is I felt so much more relaxed in the apartment. It was so nice to be able to kick back.

The downside has to be the gym that the apartment residents can use. It’s not a patch on the hotels gym, equipment is old and tightly packed. It’s a bit of a grunting weight lovers gym and I didn’t love it at all. As the weather turns progressively wintery I suspect my enthusiasm will continue to plummet! But never fear, I have a plan … DVDs and an exercise mat.

I’ll keep you posted on how that plays out!

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