A wise man once said....

"When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen you may learn something new." Dalai Lama

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Lovely Sunday

Another very enjoyable walk around Atyrau town this last Sunday. We must have walked a good 10 kilometers at least.
We set off from our apartment block about 10.00am determined to locate a famous windmill.  Source of this information being a chap at work. This to be followed by visiting a couple of markets. First though a trip to the “DINA” Market to look/buy a ‘Dombra”.  Local two stringed guitar type instrument. Then to have lunch and go to our other Market to buy some fruit and veg.  Also a chance to give the girls their photos I’d taken last week.
Beautiful day. Sun shining and a light wind.  And we had a small map curtsy of one of the local hotels. Off we went full of excitement.
We walked and we walked. First past the mosque, very pretty and very quiet. Told it is busy on a Fridays. Then on to the Russian Orthodox Church which was in full swing. Beautiful old building with golden tops etc. Very much a good photo opportunity.  It was busy with worshipers and assorted bystanders.  We tried to be a bit discreet but not always easy. The local beggars picked us out in seconds. So that was the end of our loose change….
On we went in a determined manner to find the famous the windmill.  Of course is might have helped if we had known or bothered to find out the Russian or Kazakh for “Windmill. But we didn’t.  “It was located by the main river bridge round a few corners a bit further along, you can’t miss it.”  That’s what Steven had been told at work by his local engineering colleague.  We had a pit stop on the way, and bought some water etc.  Then we marched on, and on, and on to the bridge.  Got to the crest of the bridge and took photos etc. But no windmill.  Nothing resembling anything approaching such an item. 
Nothing at all. Just water flowing under the bridge and us having a panoramic 360 degree view. Flat for as far as you could see. Highest thing around was the bridge we stood on. No windmill.

Before arriving at the bridge, we had passed lots of rundown old houses, new construction and an assortment of odds and ends. Empty lots, storage areas and side streets which seemed to have  n unloved appearance. I had been very taken by the interconnecting municipal gas pipelines to each house.  There seems to be a central ring main, yellow coloured, running along the roadside going from house to house.  Lots of take offs to each house or shed. Did not see any meters though I did take a good look for them. Strange, again perhaps municipal gas.  I took a few photos of these pipes as well. In fact difficult not to take a photo of a house without them in. Tends to ruin photos when you want the house of back ground. It’s always in the way…  Even the balcony photo has yellow pipe running horizontally across the middle!
Back to the windmill. We decided “Never mind there being no windmill”, and we gave up the search for another day. Off we went to Dina market which was just a few more kilometers down the road.  We found it exactly where it should be which was good!!
Outside the market, we did see some Dombra’s for sale. Bit disappointing as they were very cheap plywood things. I say cheap, that’s in quality but not the price he thought he could charge us as rich foreigners…. Stupid asking price so we very quickly lost interest he lost a possible sale. He asked so much it was not even worth starting a discussion or beginning a bargaining effort. 

As for the quality I had been hoping to see some Dumbra’s made out of solid wood. Earlier in our walk we had passed all these old housed so had assumed there would be decent seasoned wood available to make these local Dumbra’s. After all you don’t need much wood. Actually I was more that a bit disappointed. Anyway enough of those, we quickly moved on to other parts of the market, wondered round the place buying ice creams and few odds and ends. Not surprisingly with all this walking etc, my old boots needed new laces. Easy to shop and buy replacements, just point at what you want, smile and pay the lady… The pair of laces by the way were 40 pence.
We then had a rest and lunch in a local café. More of a ‘Caff’ really with basic wholesome food.  I had rice with meat already cooked in it.  Might have been horse but I think beef. Some mince rolled in cabbage leaves and topped off with iced tea,  Steven and Peter has similar fare except Peter had cracked wheat instead of rice. After our walk to get here believe you me, it tasted excellent…. Time to move on.
This time we opted to take a taxi, not walk, to the last market. Did our shopping, enjoyed a break in a coffee shop and wondered home. Again by taxi. Lovely, feet really appreciated that gesture!!
Oh yes, almost forgot to mention, I gave the ladies at the veggie market their photos. Big smiles all round. They again offered to pay but no, it was only a few dollars, and who knows we might get discount next time we buy from them….Loss leader so to speak.
Through the earlier walking we saw a lot of interesting parts to the suburbs. New construction and modern houses are going up everywhere, in between the old houses and infilling in the vacant lots.  There are quite a few old wooded houses in various states of decay. The houses in this area were never big, nor where they even in their best days extravagant just ordinary, basic. I suspect this had never a rich suburb.  Which made the small bits of ornamentation all the more fascinating.  Particularly I noticed this on what was left of the balconies, They must in earlier times looked beautiful. We came across one old building (perhaps not so old but in a sorry state, suffering badly from the extreme climates. Hence  my assumption of thinking these buildings are old.)
I ‘m guessing that after a few seasons here and everything starts to take on a deteriorated look. One house had lost a lot of plaster on the walls  exposing the ‘laft and plaster’ for all to see. All fascinating stuff.
Well today is Monday. And first thing, Steven asked his colleague at work, where was the windmill?  “under the bridge”. A windmill under the bridge.  Why didn’t we think of looking under the bridge.  We were so close up on the top the bridge. So know you know and you hear it first here.  

Windmills under bridges… No comment please.

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