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Jim: "You can walk around and see girls and women that knock western supermodels out of sight..."

Like many other I started e mailing a lady (Irina) in Kazakhstan two years ago, after about a zillion E mails to & fro I decided to bite the bullet and go and meet her. My trip only delayed a few months by the events of Sept 11th, I'm not the worlds greatest flier at the best of times let alone the added prospect of a flight on a Russian airline with all the problems we hear about here about their airlines.

However once the day dawned and Singapore airlines whisked me from Brisbane Australia to New Delhi India where the adventure started. As I walked up the jet way from the Singapore airlines plane a airport official was screaming my name over & over. Not bad even for me two minutes in country and in the sticky stuff! However he greeted me and asked was I the guy flying on to Almaty Kazakhstan? On getting a yes he sat me down in a lounge and within 20 minutes had returned with my boarding card for Air KZ plus reassuring me my case had also been put on the aircraft. Never had that on BA or Qantas!

On boarding the Air KZ 737 all was clean seemed well cared for the crew seemed happy in their work, we rattled down the runway into the air on our way, I seemed to be the only Westerner on the plane. On arrival at Almaty the doors were thrown open and every one started to throw on coats as it was about 03.45 and minus 4. As you deplane there is a mad rush for the first bus which takes you to the arrivals hall. For you people thinking off visiting Almaty try to get near the front as it takes forever to clear immigration. Fill in your incoming customs card and wait in line. At least you can spend this time warming up at least to 2 about zero!

When you finally reach the small box that the officials sit in don't bother with a cheery good morning all your get is a burst of Russian or Kazakh that you can't follow. Once past that hurdle you go downstairs and collect your case, then through X ray (your case not you) and another wait in line for customs. Don't do what I did and step backwards onto the paws of the sniffer dog! The dog judging by the yelp didn't like it and neither did the handler from the burst or Russian I got!

Once your through there your in! At that point I was regretting not learning more basic Russian like way out or exit so trailed alone behind people who looked like they knew what they were doing. By the way after spending at least 2 hours getting past all those hurdles the temp out side had risen to about minus 1 by then. 


 Jim and Irina

Jim and Irina

" Americano Americano"

At last coming to the way out you will be greeted by a huge seething mass of people in the dark, Don't worry the taxi drivers will know your an overseas visitor, at about 30 meters the will start to scream " Americano Americano" at you. Don't worry about offending them when they try to take your case or hand luggage off your trolley just keep yelling Nyet or no, won't make any difference to them but it makes you feel better! 

At that point thank god Irina came to my rescue What with all the taxi drivers and my glasses being steamed up and it being pitch dark I'd managed to miss her in the crowd, with a few choice Russian words she got shot of the Taxi guys and led me towards a friends waiting car. 30 minutes and we were having breakfast in her home.

After shaking off Jet lag we started to explore Almaty, now as John says in his notes Yes most of the Russian ladies there are very good looking take huge trouble over their appearance, even the tram drivers there look very smart, on market stalls in the bazaar whatever? They take far more care over their looks than most Western ladies. Also in the case of Irina a superb cook I think that is because they buy the basics and cook from there, no TV dinners!  

Almaty is a city you can walk around and see girls and women that knock western supermodels out of sight. But back to Johns notes and yes there are many younger girls you could ask to come away to USA, Australia, UK with you and many would, but be realistic! Don't think if your 50 your gonna keep the interest of a 18 year old for ever. In our case I'm just six years older than Irina. 

Anyway after 4 weeks there I returned to Australia & Irina followed me 5 months later and we married 2 months later. So to sum up, write lots before you go, if you can try to speak on the phone, get to know the person, ask her questions look for missing or odd answers. Don't send money before you have met her, In fact we found out you don't have to for an Australian visa, but it sounded good when she had her Moscow interview that I was helping to support her at that time.. meet the family, keep a sense of humor, at times your need it. In all it's well worth the trip, Russia is a huge and interesting place and if you looking Almaty is a great place to start. But as I say if your 40 or 50 forget the 20 year olds! Ask your self if you are that age would you try you luck with a 18 or 20 year old even in your hometown where ever that is? 

Happy hunting 

Jim & Irina

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Jim and Irina | John and Irina | Jan Scheerder | Johan Hodde | Jim and Irina | Scott Hurst | Thomas Higgins | Dimitri and Natasha | Jeff and Nina

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