In my last post I showed you how nature triumphed in the surroundings of Almaty and made the city’s existence redeemable by flooding the outskirts with natural, undeniable beauty. Perhaps that was not all immediately visible in my post due to the quality of the photos, but I hope in spite of all you were able to deduce that much.
If not, never worry – I will drive the point home by demonstrating to you what happens when man (the Soviet Man, let me add) thinks he can do better than God.
When the Soviet Man thinks he can do better than God, he builds on top of a mountain of unspoiled beauty an Olympic ice skating rink.
Then the Soviet Man mounts a dam to save the rink and city from mudflows, as well as a staircase of 842 (or 843, or 846, depending on which authority you listen to) breathtaking steps leading to the top of the dam. The steps are not breathtaking because they are beautiful – they are breathtaking because no matter what your level of physical fitness, given the altitude (bear in mind this is the highest-placed skating rink in the world), your breath is soon literally taken away.
Next, the Soviet Man carves out a road on top of the dam, and a scenic overlook, from which you can admire the Soviet Olympic skating rink, which looks just like an Olympic skating rink, except uglier, as could be expected from a Soviet skating rink.
Then the Soviet Man plops a ski-lift leading higher up the mountain so that your view upwards is spoiled as well.
At least the Soviet Man made enough parking spots for social life to blossom.
There was a darling photo op, as a Kazakh horseman dressed in traditional clothing drove up on his steed and attempt to convince one of the mini-skirted, high-heeled damsels sitting in the car trunk to join him on horseback; unfortunately, my cell phone battery chose that moment to die.
It was priceless; and for that clash of modernity and tradition, I thank the Soviet Man. There was some use for him, after all.