Thursday, 14 October 2010

Kazakh road building

There has been an absolute spate of road building in town lately. You never know if a road will be open or closed from one day to the next. If roads are bring re-surfaced, then it is up to you to find your way round the problem. Fortunately, our awesome driver Baktiyar is pretty resourceful about these run-of-the-mill issues on the roads.

The other day, facing a blocked route onto the main road to school, he looked both ways (you can never break the rules if there are policemen about, but if there are none, then you can go for it), put his foot down, and raced the wrong way up a slip road to get onto Al Farabi Avenue, saving us about 20 minutes of traffic jam in the process. I am not a big fan of going the wrong way down a road, but I can also appreciate that there are times when a bit of lateral thinking can pay huge dividends.

Roads here are pretty good compared to lots of other developing world places, but there are a couple of things to look out for:
  • Half-metre deep storm trenches along the edge of new roads with no protective covers at all. If your car goes in one, it will take a crane to remove it
  • Large holes in roads, which may have been dug to fix a drain or to install a new cable system, will not be marked with a warning sign, but will probably have the branch of a nearby tree sticking up as the only hint of impending hazard. 
There has been a worryingly deep hole in a road near our house for months. It is on an unlit stretch of road which we drive along every day, and each morning, I have half expected to see some poor vodka-soaked unfortunate half in half out of the man-sized trap. Last week, a man hole cover was put on it. This small attention to detail (that after all this time, it had been on someone's to do list) made me feel incredibly hopeful and optimistic!

Here is a picture of our road last winter (shortly before my two companions both fell over on the ice):

Our road has been a very rough track since we arrived, getting worse after each winter and not really having any surfacing at all. However, as part of the recent road building frenzy, our road got done last week. It took just two days.

This is our road last week, we weren't sure if they were laying pipes to the building site, or sorting out our surfacing:

This is the top of our road last week as we set off on a walk:

And this is the lovely new road that we found when we came back from our walk!

Fancy, eh?

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Over-wrought mother of four

So it is happening. My prediction is coming true. Life is simply too hectic at the moment. As I always thought it would be with four kids.

There is no slack. The days are long, noisy and full. I am sure one day I will look back on all this time and wistfully wish the weeks could be so full, so unpredictable and so varied as they are now.

Husband thinks I am going mad, I think I am just blooming knackered. He sees me for 30 minutes in the morning as I try to make myself wake up and before the coffee has had time to work. Then again for about 30 minutes in the evening, when I cook his supper, tidy it up, comment on the various things that I have not had time to do during the day and then need to go to bed.

The blinking baby will not sleep through and it has been 7 months.  Agh!