Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Modern city

There are about 250,000 people in this town. What does the city look like, you ask? Imagine a city built during the Soviet era sixties and seventies. Did you imagine gray cement? You are correct. Most of the buildings are flat gray buildings on the initial look. We live in the Semey Hotel a 5 story gray building. There are no more then a handful of buildings taller. I would say 10-12 stories is as tall as you get. It is funny when we first got here we saw nothing but flat gray buildings but the more we get around we see some pink and orange color. We see blue and gold colors. We see some buildings with architectural interest with columns or window frames. We also see many very old wooden structures that have great craftsmanship in the doilies on the eves and over doors. Many of these structures look run down but you can tell that in is heyday this down was quite beautiful and it still is. Many of the apartments in the center of town are named after the Soviet leader who was there at the time of Kennedy. They are very nice looking on the outside. On the inside they were built to accommodate as many families as possible so they are quite small. It looks like every one lives in apartments here, except for the few newly rich, those who acquired wealth by being in the position of power when the soviet wall came down. According to one local’s theory. They city is littered with little parks and big parks. Our hotel is at the eastern end of victory park. Dedicated to the locals who fought in World War Two. They still light a flame on May 9th the day after the war was over for the Soviets. It is a very nice memorial It is interesting that they shoveled the center of the park where there is a square and the place for the flame. But they did not shovel the paths leading to the center. In an other park in the city center they did the same thing. The whole square is shoveled. Both parks have trees and grass on the edges but the center is all cement block. I am sure it looks beautiful during the summer. Maybe we will come back then. One other statue we saw was dedicated to the locals who fought in Afghanistan 1979-1989. One was a boy that was taught by our interpreter when she was part of 5th grade class. It is sad to see the name of a person you know on a memorial monument.
Overall the city has grown on us. We are able to communicate better and better every day. We see the buaty that surrounds us. We also see the potential and wish we could buy and renovate every empty building in town. I am looking few a few partners with plenty of cash…we’ll make a killing… more on economics of the city later.

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