Friday, 10 October 2008

Boo hiss the evil landlady

So our nice, easy-to-work-with landlady has done the dirty, inserted a clause in the rental contract giving her the right to raise our rent arbitarily, and we have had to walk away from the whole deal. Gutted. 

And even worse, I now have to start house hunting again. I spent the morning with a new realtor looking at rank photos of rank houses, some of which I have already seen in real life and know that they actually look better in the pictures! 

We have now been here 7 weeks or so, and in the meantime, the other 70 families who have just arrived have been beavering away finding their ideal homes. So there really is a load of absolute dross left. 

However, there is absolutely no point in getting down about this tedious situation, and I know I am not alone in facing my challenges here. Yesterday, I met a girl who had her first baby here last year, and was telling how to take blood samples in the local hospital, they just shave the end of your finger off with a razor blade. Ouch. Apparently, in the no-expense-spared Kazakh hospital system, the urine sample containers they used were the cut-off bottoms of Tassay mineral water bottles!! 

On a less painful note, my friend L has hired a car and a driver called Victor to get around. Victor is young and keen but has no idea where anything is and speaks only Russian. She, I think, would rather drive herself but has not got a car. Victor comes with his own ancient BMW which has started recently to smell strongly of petrol. 
"Don't you think he should get that fixed?" L asked me, 
"I mean, aren't exhaust fumes supposed to be worse for you than cigarettes? What is the point of living out of town in the mountains if I have to sniff Victor's petrol fumes for an hour a day" she said, exasperated. 
On numerous occasions she and Victor have driven around for hours trying to find things like The Hyatt hotel (one of two large international hotels in what is, let's face it, a pretty small town). Yesterday, while driving into town,  Victor was playing some positively pornographic rap music that "made Eminem sound like a priest" and which quite put friend L off the "quality novel" she was reading. 

And on the bright side for now, the marvelous Alia (picture below) continues to be brilliant and our driver man Baktiyar (I love that name) remains a legend. 

1 comment:

  1. Boo hiss indeed - still, keep an eye on your post over the next couple of weeks as a digital rescue package will shortly be winging its way over to you - 3 quality BBC sunday evening style costume dramas, some kids tv (including the oscar winning Peter & the Wolf), and the first 4 series of Entourage - aspirational hollywood lifestyles at their worst!