Thursday, June 27, 2013


Wednesday, and I am due to leave on Friday.  I will not be back for a couple of months and so, as is my tradition, I must stock the freezer for Sandra so she can have so easy meals when I am away.

I am afraid that I have been working on a scheme to to make this an easy half day task, so I decided to put it to the test. 

First off was a trip to the store.  I decided to walk, so that I could first stop at Ram Store and if they had what I needed avoid going to Rahat.  But more importantly this gave me the chance of a last minute check on progress before Sundays VIP visits.  I am pleased to be able to report good progress.

However the first item of interest was not very presidential.  Progress has been made on the pipe that is being buried along the burr of the canal...a valve has been added at the end.  As yet there is no sign where it is going to, or coming from, which is just as well because I know the other end is similarly disconnected.  But we have a big cylindrical concrete lined hole with a manhole at the top and a valve inside. To wit, the concrete cylinder
And the valve with only one pipe into it.
But shortly after I climbed the bank onto Airport Road I noticed that the corrugated iron fencing that surround (I think by law) land waiting for development, is being hung with colourful scenes of Atyrau on plastic sheets.

And where this was not practical, different decorations were used.
The side of the bridge has been beautified with plant pots mounted to it, not a very good picture but I was shaking with horror at the thought of the poor creature that had to do the watering.  This surely must be impractically sustainable?

I think this lady or man is the one who does the watering as that seemed to be what she was doing here, all manually.

The painting activity is continuing and indeed even ramping up.  Today (Thursday) there were thirty or forty people at this bridge location (clearly a key visual impact location as the entry to Atyrau) and they were painting the curbs white, sweeping the roads, digging a bit, and generally beautifying the place.

All along Satpayeva people are at work.  In one place there was a truck parked  in the fast lane of the road.

On inspection they were putting up flags, one Kazakh, the next British.  They were already hanging all the way to the river, where they decorate the recently planted traffic island.
There are three new urns and a new peacock to report, but no more camels!

There are also newly attached plant pots on the lamp posts.  These are surely going to be another watering nightmare as Sandra says these flowers need a lot of water.

Unfortunately Ram Store only had black mushy celery so it was forward and onwards to Asia and Rahat Ideal.
When I arrived at the bridge I was surprised to see the barrier painting had not yet started.  The repairs to the cabling ducts were partially reconnected to the walls but a lot still had to be done.

But rather strangely there had been some painting done, in two places on the Europe side by the steps the barriers had been partially painted, one side green and the other grey.

I hope somebody will be able to explain this because I cannot!

And then, just as I was getting to the Asia end of the bridge I saw a squad of people walking along with buckets.  I think I can report that the painting is about to commence, but I won't be here to confirm or otherwise.
I walked on and finally arrived at Rahat. Where I did all my shopping and took a taxi home to begin the freezer stocking exercise.
The shopping list is below!

4lbs                Ground Beef
5lbs                Onions 
2lbs                Carrots (peeled and finely chopped)
1bunch           Celery (trimmed and washed and finely chopped)
3lbs                Potatoes 
2 large cans    Tomatoes (chopped or crushed)
1 medium can Tomato Paste
2x15oz Can     Red kidney beans 
2x15oz Can     White beans
8oz                 Frozen Peas 
2 Medium        Egg Plants 
1 Medium        Red Peppers 
1 lb                 Cheese...whatever is tasty for sauce
1 Box              Lasagne Pasta Sheets 
1 Head            Garlic   

Now you understand why I took a car home to Zheti Kazyna!

This I then had to prep...and I had nearly an hour of peeling and dicing.

After that came the cooking and the "assembly".  I will do another blog of the full recipes, which are probably of little interest to anyone except my sister, to whom I have been promising them for some time.  But here are pictures of a couple of them...

Actually, this is a big cheat!  Just as they do on TV, I do....and say "here is one we did earlier" except in this case it is two (or more if I showed them all.  In fact these are pictures of assembling a Cottage Pie (left) and  a Keema Curry right.  They were ones I made on my last trip here.  The ones I made this week were done individually so Sandra can just take out as much as she needs.  I also did a large batch of lentil curry the night before, as this is very low calorie and therefore has special appeal!

What I actually had to put in the freezer this morning, when It was cooled and bagged is shown below (including the lentils).  This is an honest picture!

In total there are 37 meals of:

Paprika Bean Stew
Cottage Pie ("Shep Pie"!)
Lentil Curry
Keema and Rice
Bolognese Sauce
and Beef Chili

My job done!


  1. OMG. This alone is love. I have to share this with The Husband....he's actually taken cue from you and was in the kitchen last week (for the 2nd time ever since we moved here in 2012) to make a banana bread. Was impressed by it! Thanks for sharing Mark!

  2. Mark, just wanted to give an overall thank you for the work you put into this blog! As an potensial future expat to Atyrau your blog has been a valuable source of information about life there!

  3. Wow. I lived and worked in Atyrau between 1996-2002. Since many changes happened. I may find some of my old pictures about Atyrau and post here to compare.

    I am glad you guys have products nowadays. Enjoy! Ibrahim