Hailing a Taxi Cab:
This is one of the unusual sight I noticed in Aktau. Here Taxi’s are everywhere, but none can be identified. People stand on the edge of the street and gesture. Surprisingly, a car stops by and picks them for their taxi ride. Rather unusual to some, but its the common way in Aktau.
I come from India, unpopular these days for their safety about women in cities. For me, this sight is like seeing magic in broad day light (and late at night). Generally, the women in Aktau, are on the prettier side and well groomed. Seeing them embarking the taxi with ease, gives me such joy. I wish the female population not only in an Indian cities but anywhere else in the world could be so fearless, and could take a ride in the city, by just sticking their thumb out.
Shashlyk or Shashlik (Russian: шашлы́к, Persian: شیشلیک, Urdu: شیشلیک, Kurdish: Biraşka şîşê is a form of Shish kebab popular throughout the former Soviet Union, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, India, Iran, Mongolia, Morocco,Pakistan, Israel and other places. Shashlyk (meaning skewered meat) was originally made of lamb (in some extent pork or beef) depending on local preferences and religious observances. These skewers of meat are either all meat, all fat, or alternating pieces of meat, fat, and vegetables such as bell pepper, onion, mushroom and tomato.(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shashlik)
Some good ones in Aktau. You can find them in any restuarant and small kiosks, specially a delight in summer when you are by the sea. I have tried from Alice, Bakhra, Tree of Life, Assorti, Aiden. Really good.
They are generally served with pita/ lavash bread and some sauce on the side
Living with Numbers
In Aktau, streets have no names. The city is divided into microregions (mic-ra-yon) with a number. Houses have a number too. So when you write an address. It should be microdistrict, your house number and also add the apartment number. Its a different way of doing things. The microdistricts are not necessarily in order, neither the houses. but the city is small and the taxis and the local people know exactly where the house is. Amazing right.
It annoys you to bits, if you happen to drive and try to find a house by yourself. But, I will tell you where I found this very useful. I had to pay for Internet bill. I found the XCOM dropbox at Astana Mall. All I needed to provide was my micropdistrict, house number and apartment number, then push the tenge in the slit for money. Voila!!! it was done, internet back in sometime. That was easy. No typing long names, no remembering account numbers or passwords and no queues, not even trying to speak broken Russian