We’re continuing to really enjoy our time in Almaty. Because we’ve got a bit of time on our side, we’re savoring the ability to have some routine and normalcy, and not just cram in as much as possible. We’ve explored museums, criss-crossed the city, and gotten comfortable bopping around on the bus. At the Central State Museum we enjoyed an extensive exhibit on the archaeology and history of Kazakhstan, including the early hominin populations.
On Saturday, we went up to Skala for a screening of Free Solo, the newish documentary about Alex Honnold climbing El Capitan (without ropes). We knew it would probably be shown in Russian, but we figured it’d be a good chance to meet the community. That turned out to be true – we befriended a couple of young girls and their parents. They’re Almaty natives, but lived in England for a few years. The girls were excited to get to chat with us, and we had fun “coaching” them on their climbing. Then we all settled in for the movie. The kids were a little antsy, and instead invited us to join them for dinner. So off we went for an awesome meal at a local restaurant. The benefits of not having plans so firm, and schedules so tight, that you can’t cram into a car for an adventure.
Yesterday, I had a different sort of adventure. I was invited to a tour of the Archive of the President (of the country). It turned out that the tour also involved sitting down in a large conference room with all the higher ups from the archive, where they asked me to speak and then answer questions. It was … somewhat stressful. A poor grad student was roped into doing translation, which she did amazingly well (at least as far as I could tell!) but when we start getting into talking about Motion JPEG2000 wrapped in MXF with PREMIS metadata … the translation gets tricky.
We’ve made two outings to the yarn store, first to buy yarn for the loom, and then to buy batting for felting. Yarn is dangerously affordable here. The store itself falls into the category (quite common in the US as well) of “weirdly suspicious yarn store” so no cameras are allowed and you always have the sense they’re a little skeptical that you’re not going to use that yarn for evil. We also happened upon an art supply store so Kat was able to stock up on some acrylics and paper.
Most of the time we cook at home, but we have ventured out for special treats – another round of Korean street food, Lagman noodles, some fancy hot pockets from street food vendors and more.