steve's blog

Premier Hotel

Although our friends down the hall have dubbed this the "no-tell" hotel, with lots of hourly visitors each night in neighboring rooms, we have had a quiet experience here. Lena called tonight and said we'll be moving to our apartment tomorrow evening, and there are a few things about the hotel we will miss.


Hey boys!!! I just noticed right now that you are on, looking at the site. I'm in the middle of posting a lot of stuff, and photos too, and it's taking a while. It was great to see your user name pop up.


Karaganda is a city of many contradictions. Located in the center of Kazakhstan (map: ("Qaraghandy")), between its two capital cities, one old (Almaty) and one new (Astana--the Central Asian urban equivalent of Irvine, I'm told--built from scratch), it is a mix of Russian and Kazak, old poverty and new wealth. The casinos are rolling in to save the day, and much like North San Diego County, they bring their share of wealth--and many problems. Except for all the hokey blinking lights reminiscent of old I-15 south of Vegas, the City is a desolate industrial wasteland compared to Almaty. Winter and darkness set in early and go away slowly. When we flew in, the airport was dark, and snowy, and they don't clear the tarmac of snow. The drive to town was dark, and snowy, and they don't clear the roads either. Whatever can be hand-shoveled will be cleared of snow-- which means mostly private property.