Saturday, May 14, 2011

Khan Shatyr - The Beach

So I promised Sophia that I would take her to the infamous beach at Khan Shatyr at least once. I told her she had to find a friend whose parents would not mind paying the entrance free. Last I'd checked, the entrance fee was 8000 Tenge ($55) for adults and 4000 Tenge for kids.

She found a friend in the 9-year old class, a Kazakh born in Uzbekistan who spent most her life in California. We arranged to meet at Khan Shatyr at noon.

The entrance fee had lowered since September, and I only paid 7500 Tenge for the both of us. Not bad. A sign said that there was a 10000 Tenge fine for bringing in your own food or drinks.

We changed in a locker room, locked our stuff in lockers, and then went up to the main area. First, we went to the pool to our left--a somewhat large, shallow looking pool, surrounded by sand and beach lounge chairs. I recognized a kid from Sophia's class and talked a bit to his parents. They come every Saturday, they said, but try to come early because sometimes it gets crowded. The husband likes to do laps in the pool.

Then I learned that the pool was about 5 feet deep--not too deep, but not too shallow either. Sophia's friend's mother had asked that she only go in water in which she can stand with her head above the water. Astana has few, if any lifeguards, and this place had none, and I wasn't about to risk someone else's life, however slim the chance. So we got up and went to the other pool.

The pool at the base of the water slides is for the water slides only, but there is another pool behind it, one that gets 3 feet at most, and has waves at times. This was where the kids were. I relaxed in a lounge chair while they played.

At one point we got up to get a drink. I gave them 1000 Tenge (about $6.50) and said to get 2 sodas while I went to the bathroom. When I came back, I was quite surprised to learn that I hadn't given them enough for 2 sodas! So I made them share one soda.

We also got a pizza, and we ended up staying for 5 hours. They had a blast, and I was happy that I didn't have to get in the water.

In the slightly-deeper pool, there was this big plastic bubble, looking a bit like the kind of ball a hamster runs around in, and for 500 Tenge you could get in it and float across the water. Kind of odd.

So... a good day, and of course Sophia wants to go again. I keep hoping somebody will invite her...

See this September post for my description of Khan Shatyr.

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