Big Beluga is signing off for ever. We have moved to Moscow and I am going undercover on the blogosphere there. Email me if you want to know where I am going!
Nearly three years in mighty Kazakhstan and I must admit, I was very, very sorry to leave. We made some really great friends, hung out with a totally awesome crowd of interesting people, tough individuals, no one worrying about trivial things, everyone with their heads firmly screwed on and pretty much in touch with what is important in life.
I am so sad to have left the mountains with which I had a proper love affair. Every single time I ventured up the hills I had an amazing time, whether it was sun and snow, mist and rain, walking, skiing, driving off road. Every new corner that I turned gave another spectacular view, every animal or bird different. I miss the mountains every day.
I do not miss the corrupt police force: usually fat and quite ugly but of good humour, I did not enjoy the tedious process of paying police "fines" for non-offences. I must admit, they were never threatening, so in terms of cheerful corrupt officials, they probably come second only to the Thais (super smiley!).
I do not miss the corruption in general, although it did not impact enormously on me. However, it really upset me to leave our Kazakh friends, and people who cannot just up sticks and move somewhere else. To know that they would be staying and constantly having to deal with this kind of thing made me feel sad. Having to pay state officials for things that are, by law, their duty to provide really annoys me.
But on balance, I am thankful that our family had the opportunity to live in such a wonderfully adventurous place. To know that whenever we had free time, we could head out to the wilderness in our car was wildly liberating and exciting.
Bye Bye Big Beluga xxx