Monday, 26 January 2009
On the local forum I read that these guys are not the REAL Gipsy Kings!
I called the organizers of the concert and they tried to convince me that the real Gipsy Kings will come to Almaty! The ticket prices were between 45 and 210 USD and it made me almost believe them!
The official website of the band does not say a word about their tour to Almaty and they will be performing in Orlando instead. I read also that so -called "Gipsy Kings and Manolo" are fake and it is not the first time they posing as Gipsy Kings. Who knows, maybe next time we will have a chance to see and hear Elvis Presley live ;) Nothing is impossible in Kazakhstan!
Saturday, 24 January 2009
The Central Asian market is nothing without dried fruits and nuts.
This is a guy from Tajikistan selling dried fruits. Yesterday he told me what raisins are best for plov. I get really good advice for cooking here.
Thursday, 22 January 2009
This is my little pregnancy journal with different notes and stamps:
We have chosen a private clinic in Almaty having quite good conditions and some smiling doctors. After signing a contract I was told to do a complete medical examination. So here is the list of examinations and doctors:
1. Blood test for everything, even for my testosterone level. In Almaty mandatory HIV- testing is done twice during the pregnancy.
2. Ultrasound of thyroid ( Щитовид железа), kidneys and abdominal cavity
9. Surgeon (!)
It still puzzles me why I should to be checked by the oculist during my pregnancy...
Usually you go to different clinics to do all these checks, but I was lucky they had everything in one building. Still I had to wait among other pregnant women and kids for my turn to every doctor.
In contrast to Sweden where the doctor meets you outside the door ( usually all visits are pre-booked) shakes your hand and presents yourself, here you enter the room where the doctor in white rock sits behind a robust table making notes in his/her journal, looking at you above the glasses the way you feel sicker then ever before. Everybody has a computer at their table, but all notes were made by hand in the journals. Even in good clinics there are these left-overs from the Soviet time.
Well, some of the doctors were really talkative, making funny, often unnecessary comments. The oculist told me that my hip size was perfect for giving birth, but my face was swollen and need more rest. Then she took my bag and said that it was too heavy for me... Then she measured my blood pressure... Finally she said that my sight was good.
From now on I will visit my doctor every week for a control check. She also left me her personal mobile phone number and said I can call her any time of the day and night. I hope I won't need to call her at night, but it feels good to have her number in case of emergency.
Monday, 19 January 2009
Sunday, 18 January 2009
The best is yet to be.
Yesterday was a very special day. It was the Golden (50th) Wedding Anniversary of my parents-in-law who live in Lima, Peru.
Imagine spending half a century in love with one person! It is very true about my parents-in -law. It is enough to look at them to see they are in love. I hope I can publish some nice pics of them later, so you will see what I mean.
When I asked what the secret of their eternal love was, they answered with one word: Patience. So simple but not easy at all. R and I have smth to practice upon.
We wish we were together with "la familia" at the ceremony to share lots of nostalgic moments.
Thursday, 15 January 2009
150-200 ml Kefir or Plain Yogurt
One big slice of pineapple (to set the flavor)
2 dried plums
1 dried apricot
1 piece of fresh beetroot
1 piece of pumpkin
1 little slice of fresh ginger
1 spoon of dried goji berries ( bought in Sweden, haven't seen them in Almaty)
1-2 drops of sea buck thorn oil (havtornsolja/облепих масло)
Blend everything until smooth and drink for breakfast. Sometimes I put frozen berries ( blackcurrants, raspberries, or strawberries) instead of pineapple.
If you want your smoothie to keep your energy level high during longer time, add 1 scoop of whey protein powder.
This girl concluded the winter forecast: "Just look at me and it will warm you up"...
Monday, 12 January 2009
2 teaspoons brandy
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups or 8 dl flour ( approx)
650 g honey
1 cup or 2 dl sugar
Vegetable oil for frying
Walnuts ( optional)
Break fresh eggs into a bowl, add brandy, salt, flour and make soft dough. Divide dough into pieces each about 100 gramme, roll them out about 0,2 cm thick. Cut slim stripes, spaghetti-type. I used James Oliver pasta machine to make very thin pasta. Fry pasta in vegetable oil. Don't go away, pasta takes few moments to be ready.
Mix honey with sugar and boil the mixture in a separate bowl until all sugar dissolves. Pour still boiling mixture into the dough, put some walnuts and mix everything. Shape chak-chak as you wish, it can be a pyramid, a cone, a star. Use cold water to wet your hands so you won't get burn and and the mixture won't stick to your hands. you can also decorate chak-chak with dried fruits. Chak-chak is ready to eat when it cools down, usually takes 3-4 hours. Enjoy!
Sunday, 11 January 2009
Honey, with hair, heels and attitude I'm through this damned roof.
Drag Queen RuPaul
Even when I put my super comfortable, definitely not so sophisticated Ecco-shoes, I feel insecure to walk in Almaty. First of all, some pedestrian sides are uneven and covered with pure ice. Secondly, most of the entrances to the public places are made of polished marble which makes it incredibly slippery when covered with snow. Thirdly, you have to be able to run from all crazy drivers who sometimes drive on the pedestrian side or don't bother to wait on the crossings.
Most of all I admire Kazakh girls and women who wear heels with incredible skill on uneven surfaces and ice. They manage to wear really high ( at least 10 cm) heels every day, basically all the time, not only on formal occasions. Personally, I love high heels with my 178 cm height, but I think I won't risk my unbroken bones during the Kazakh winter.
BTW, I've heard on the local TV today that the main goal of any woman is to attract men... Hmm. I hope that high heels in Kazakhstan are matter of personal choice and attitude, not just another, pretty uncomfortable tool of male attraction.
Friday, 9 January 2009
Thursday, 8 January 2009
Today I took a short trip to the Kok Tobe mountain. The mountain is connected to downtown Almaty by an aerial tramway. In 10 minutes it takes you to the top of the mountain. It also shows you how polluted the city is. On the picture you can see the skyline divided by grey and blue zones.
The Kok Tobe mountain is a typical tourist place with number of restaurants serving all from national dishes to pizza and burgers. There are also art galleries, a mini-zoo, amusement activities and souvenir shops. Most of the places were closed but I enjoyed being in the park almost alone.
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
"Anti-crisis offer from the Hungarian Chef". The restaurant branch in Almaty adapts quickly to the new conditions.
In reality is looks facsinating, especially at night. I have to be better in taking night pictures, leave me some space for improvement.
The Television tower you see in the background is 370 m high and the highest one above see level (1000 m). Since Almaty is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes , the TV tower was designed to withstand earthquakes up to a strength of 10 on the Richter scale. I've heard that the tower is a popular look-out area over the city. We have to go there and take some nice pics!
Tuesday, 6 January 2009
- I have no idea why you use the pancakes to clean your face
It is simply impossible to stay hungry here. This delicious plov we can buy at any time ( for 24 hours) just around the corner of our house ! As you see plov is traditionally cooked in a deep metal kettle known as a "kazan". Originally plov is a national dish of Uzbekistan, but here in Central Asia you can really find a fusion of Uzbek, Uigur, Russian, Tatar, Korean dishes. Kazakhstan's food is a reflection of a unique ethnic and religious composition. With people of more than 100 ethnic groups one can only imagine a wide variety of cuisine art and cultural rituals.
So, let's see what they have next to plov. It is Russian bliny or pancakes -- really good ones. The women makes thousands of pancakes every day non-stop and amazingly they are all sold out. There is also Uigur manti cooked in a huge steam-cooker. Korean spicy salads are sold next to the stand in the shop. So, just two pictures show you the diversity of Central Asian food that i missed so much.
To conclude a food joke in Russian:
Кухни народов мира
Украинская: в качестве начинки для торта возьмите две свиных отбивных и сальные шкварки.
Русская: приготовьте что угодно, лишь бы получилась закусь. Залейте майонезом. Грузинская: приготовьте что-нибудь, засыпьте кинзой, залейте кинзмараули, добавьте сулугуни.
Французская: как-нибудь поджарьте мясо, залейте его соусом, с которым вы напарились 3, 5 часа, украсьте шалотом.
Итальянская: соберите все остатки еды из холодильника, разогрейте, посыпьте моцареллой. Подавать на блине или с макаронами.
Китайская: соберите умерших мух и тараканов, нарвите травы во дворе, обжарьте на быстром огне с горой специй и литром соевого соуса.
Японская: поймайте что-нибудь живое в море, немедленно разделайте на куски, подайте к столу трепещущим и с васаби.
Мексиканская: добавьте перца. Все остальное можете не добавлять.
Ливанская: намазать кунжутным маслом, залить лимонным соком. Подать к столу через 20 минут, чтобы не все поняли, что там было в начале.
Индийская: смешайте карри с перцем, перцем и перцем. Добавьте к карри. Украсьте горошком.
Греческая: подайте к столу дешевые продукты, просто нарубленные кусками и даже не смешанные. Гордо повторяйте: "Натур продукт!"
Monday, 5 January 2009
Sunday, 4 January 2009
A. No, 38 children is enough.
Today I have 100 pregnancy days left! The belly is keep on growing and I wonder where it will stop ;)
We did ultrasound last week and it is a boy! I met so many people who tried to predict the sex of the baby... It's amazing that most of them were 100% sure it was a girl. Even if there is 50% chance to guess right, I wonder how some people can really be sure.
I did also an online test to define the sex of the baby by your apperance and cravings. The test gave me the following result:
You have a 50% chance of having a boy. And you have a 50% chance of having a girl.
And Here's Why...
You are carrying the extra weight out front, so it's a boy.
The hair on your legs is not growing any faster during your pregnancy, so it's a girl.
Girls are carried high. You are going to have a girl.
Sleeping in a bed with your pillow to the north indicates that you will be having a boy.
Your feet are not colder than they were before pregnancy. You are having a girl.
You refuse to eat the heel of a loaf of bread. You are having a girl.
Dad-to-be hasn't been gaining weight along with Mom-to-be, so it will be a girl.
The maternal grandmother doesn't have gray hair (dyed or natural), so a girl will be born.
You had morning sickness early in pregnancy, so you are expecting a girl.
You are looking particularly good during pregnancy. Therefore, it must be a boy, because girls steal their mother's looks.
Since the sum of the mother's age at conception and the number of the month of conception is even, it will be a boy.
A needle on a thread held over your belly moves in circles, so you will have a boy.
Your urine is a bright neon yellow color, so you will have a boy.
You have a craving for salty or sour foods, which means that it is a boy.
Your nose hasn't changed during pregnancy, which indicates a girl.
You have been craving fruits, so it is a girl.
Your baby's heart rate is below 140 beats per minute, so it's a boy.
You must have orange juice every day, so it's a girl.
You are having headaches, so it's a boy.
Your belly looks like a basketball, so it's a boy.
You show them the palm of your hand, so it's a girl.
You use the handle, so it's a boy.
Saturday, 3 January 2009
"The jacuzzi" -- really big one with DVD and a bucket for champagne. Imagine the amount of water to fill it up. I think that's why we haven't used it yet.
Here is the entrance into our apartment-house guarded 24 hours