Posts Tagged ‘French’

Toilets and more interesting people

12th July 2010 by Helen

10th July 2010

Ploughing on to Almaty today.

The scenery is changing.  We are leaving behind the deserts and savannah and today the Tien Chen mountains opened up before us as we approached Almaty.  Despite the heat we have seen roadside stallholders selling winter clothes and whole animal pelts.  Fruit is much more common among the roadside stallholders.

Toilets have been an interesting experience over the last few weeks.  We first came across the latrine over which you have to squate way back in Ukraine.  Whilst Russia was mixed, throughout Kazakhstan the toilet you can sit on has been a novelty.  Why should we think this is about being poor or a bad thing.  Many of these toilets are clean.  This is a far more appropriate system than wasting gallons of water where water is precious, particularly in the desert, and where water has to be collected from a well or tap out in the street.  I am slowly learning to balance on my heels (an essential skills, trust me).  However, today we came across two sets of public toilets that have been different in the extreme.  First, at a large cafe, very modern in many respects, the toilets were also modern, and had a charge of 30 Tenge.  The toilet itself still requires the ability to squat but this time over a china bowl.  And the water is flushed from a cistern with a pull chain.  But whilst there was small partitions between the toilets, there were no doors!!  Then tonight, being so close to the city of Almaty we were in the suburbs, we opted to camp in a TIR park.  All well and good, except the toilets here were so vile as to make the option of one’s buttocks being tickled by the grass (or insects or who knows what) a much more prefereable option than the privacy of a wooden hut emitting a smell that could be identified from 30 feet away.

Apart from that the lorry park held a new experience.  Drinking tea in the back of an empty container, Paul, in a combination of French and English managed a lengthy and informative conversation with a French speaking Turkish lorry driver.  We know his wife has died, he has two children, where he was brought up and where he has travelled, which is extensive to say the least, and how old he is.  How much he knows about us we’re not so sure.  The dogs roaming the park were happily playing together until it was time for us to be going to sleep, when they all began arguing, barking, fighting and generally creating a racket for much of the night.  Not that I was aware of any of this – I only have Paul’s word for it!!

(sorry no photos yet – not downloaded – but we have a lovely one of Landy nestling between two Turkish lorries – will post later hopefully)