Space and the Lake

Aralsk (Russia), 22.10.2013

Today I saw two soviet relics in the desert of what today is Kazakhstan. The first one of scientific and technical significance, the second one a an ecological disaster on a staggering scale. The morning started with no water and a “shower” with a small bucket of water plus the 5 liter tank I had bought the night before. Shortly before 09:00 the phone rang and somebody asked me something in Russian. I just understood “lunch bag”. Then the phone rang again while I was in the bathroom, then again. Now it was Yana, my translator: “Do you want breakfast?”. “Of course, but I was told to be downstairs at 09:00, and I am leaving the room now.” I walked down the stairs to the hotel restaurant. The corridors smelling of cigarette smoke in the morning, the big empty halls with cheap sofas and decorations, the concrete stairs in rough cement and bad manufacturing, the restaurant with fake privè corners and real disco lights – this place was a fine example of a soviet relic adapting to modern times without hiding its past. Continue reading “Space and the Lake”

Mausoleum Day

Baikonur (Kazakhstan or Russia, it depends on who you ask), 21.10.2013

The day started with a geography test and socializing lesson with a Kazakh youngster who admired the map on the Evoque while I made breakfast in the mobile kitchen. Among the milestone pins on the red route across Asia he marked his city Taraz with his finger on the dirt that covered the map. A friend came and marked the next town, Shu. In the meanwhile I focussed on coffee and sandwiches in the sun. Continue reading “Mausoleum Day”

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