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The sea that turned to dust in Kazakhstan

Aral Sea Kazakhstan photo by Arian ZwegersSome places in the world are stunning in their starkness and too emotional to fully comprehend, as Intrepid Group Leader Masha Rogozhina discovers on her Central Asia adventure…

“I’m awakened by the sun streaming through the train window as we travel across the steppes of vast Kazakhstan. My destination is the small town of Aralsk, which used to be the major port of what was once the biggest sea in Central Asia, the Aral Sea. After whole day in transit we finally roll into the small station and go straight to our homestays, where we meet our host Gulmira and her children.

Gulmira is a teacher of Russian language in this small Kazakh town. She has been living here her whole life, which we find out over a delicious dinner that’s served outside the house on the big topchan (sofa). She never travelled outside Kazakhstan and her dream is to visit Astana, the Kazakh capital, to show this big city to her kids one day. Before we go to bed she warns us that tomorrow will be another very hot day and asks what we would like for breakfast.

At the crack of dawn, to escape the heat of the unmerciful Kazakh sun, we board our Russian 4WDs to travel on the former bed of the Aral Sea. Our caravan of cars is travelling in complete isolation for about an hour and a half, not seeing a single hill and any sign of other human activity. Emptiness, vastness and razing sun are following us all the way till we make a stop at the so called ships cemetery.

This is when you actually start believing that there was a sea here. When your foot kicks the seashell buried deeply in the sand, while a group of camels walks off disturbed by the rare presence of people.

I ask our driver, a young Kazakh fellow, “Do you actually believe there was a sea here?”

He smiles back, “For me it’s like a fairy tale. I’ve never seen a big sea in my life. But my grandmother remembers running just across the road from her house for a swim when she was a girl.”

Every citizen of Aralsk tells a similar story. Gulmira and her mother, their friends and many others remember blue cool waters of the Aral Sea, the sea that is now turned into dust by someone’s dream to become the greatest empire in the World.”

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Is traveling to Kazakhstan safe nowadays? | Yahoo Answers

I know people who have been there and had a nice time ..... that is it.
I dont think the actor who played Borat ever set foot in the country..... the scenes in the film that supposedly took place in Kazakhstan, actually occurred in Romania. Just forget about Borat in relation to Kazakhstan.
According to sources, visa applications to the country increased by 10 times so it cannot be a bad place. :D

how long does it take to travel from England to Kazakhstan? | Yahoo Answers

About ten hours via plane, very expensive tho (about a grand when I looked which is why I decided not to go!!). If you can afford that however then it looks like a brilliant place to visit off the beaten track but with lots of adventure and actually very modern and interesting (I thought it would be a backwards type place before I started reading about it - apologies to any Kasazkhs!)

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