Saturday, April 9, 2011
A Walk in the Park
Saturday, 2 April
The morning snow did not leave too much of a mess, the sky cleared and the sun shone brightly, so at about 4 pm Sophia and I set out on a walk. I decided to try and walk the roughly 3 km to Eagilik, the English-language library that I call the "American library."
Between Mega (the mall we are next to) and the river, there is a vast park, that I hadn't given much thought to due to the fact that, obviously, buses and cars go around it, so I'd never really seen it. During spring break was my first day there, when we crossed the bridge and Sophia went ice-skating on the river, after eating at the French cafe.
So I decided we'd walk through there.
We ended up spending 2 hours on our walk, mostly just ambling through the immense park, not even seeing all of it. There is an amusement park there, which looks just as abandoned as can be, although maybe it just looks that way due to the harsh winter. Rides looked old, gates were open so people could even go up to the rides and sit in the seats, glass on a kiosk was smashed. Mud was everywhere. But again, winter just finished, and who would try to upkeep an amusement park during the kind of winter that Astana gets? Maybe it'll be fixed and running by summer time.
We weren't the only ones in the park, several people and groups of people were wandering around. We had fun going up to the rickety roller coaster, we could have walked on the tracks if we'd wanted to. There were kid-friendly rides, including a safe-and-slow-looking mini roller coaster called the "Worm." And lots of kiosks for ice cream and such.
It was a very pleasant walk, and should be even more fun in the summer time.
Then we tried to get to the pedestrian bridge by walking on a path next to the river, but soon we
were cut off by a barbed wire fence. I didn't want to turn around, so we stepped onto the river. Yes, on 2nd April we walked on the river! It looked messy--very, very slushy--but most of that was melted snow, not melted ice. I saw a few other people on the river, and it seemed like the ice was still very thick, but in the end I panicked and we turned back. I don't know enough about frozen rivers to know how safe we were.
We made it to the pedestrian bridge, and we saw plenty of ice-fishermen, relaxing on the river. So I guess the ice is still okay?
Across the bridge there was a cool playground, with all the equipment based on gym-type equipment. A woman with her 12-year old daughter became very interested in me, although she
didn't speak any English. She managed to communicate to me, however, that she has another daughter at a university in Rochester, New York.
Finally, I was cold, and we made it to a bus stop--we had only 3 bus stops before the library, but we were ready to ride the bus!
It was a good day and a great walk. Looking forward now to Astana in the summer!
Photos: At the top, the entrance to the Park from the bus stop on Sary Arka Street, as well as a view of the ferris wheel with some funky buildings in the background. (Those buildings are on the other side of the river, and next to the cool playground we found.)
At the bottom, a man ice fishing. The box helps protect him from the wind. Some men were fishing from inside small tents, some were just out in the open.