We left Central Asia for Kuala Lumpur two weeks ago. In my World History classes in the ’60s, mention was made of the Soviet city of Alma Ata. Only on arrival in Kazakhstan, did it dawn on me that Alma Ata is now Almaty. This occurred back in the 1990’s on gaining independence from Russia. Another little piece of trivia is that the Almaty area was the first domestication of apples. Current research suggests that the wild local apple (Malus sieversii) is ancestor of the common domestic apples found in Minnesota, Washington State, and everywhere else in the world. Almaty’s name may originate in the Kazakh word meaning “full of apples.” Alma Ata means “father of apples.”
When we were packing up in Almaty, I felt a little sad to be leaving Central Asia. I’m missing:
1. Walking the boulevards of Almaty. It is a city with lots of green, channels rushing with mountain run off, and some interesting monuments along with street art.
2. The Tian Shan mountains standing at a distance.
3, The Almaty Metro.
4. The fresh apricots, walnuts, and melons direct from farms to the street stalls. Restaurant menus offering horse steak.
The only real downside was that Almaty has undertaken massive street repairs. Sometimes the sidewalk just disappears. Here is the main shopping thoroughfare.