Relocating to Aktau – a personal experience.
When I found out we would be relocating to Aktau in Kazakhstan I had very mixed feelings. Excitement – this was a new adventure! Sadness – I would be leaving friends, family and pets; all very dear to me. Fear – of a totally unknown country and city. I googled ‘Aktau’ and got little information on the city. If only this blog had been available! I ended up reading a lot about Atyrau but with hindsight not much use as it is a very different city to Aktau. I eventually came up with a picture that the city of Aktau would be restrictive as far as to what would be available to buy and for what I could do with my time. In many ways my first ideas were right but I must say I have been pleasantly surprised.
What to pack.
Essential items to pack will vary depending on those things you deem ‘essential’. My essential items were:
- books written in english – you cannot get english books in Aktau as yet.
- arts and crafts items – this is a particular hobby.
- wool and knitting patterns – another hobby.
- my favourite range of beauty products in case I couldn’t get them here – I can’t.
- my favourite cookery books.
- a supply of Frey Bentos Steak and Kidney pies – a particular favourite of my husband.
- my favourite dvds – you cannot get english dvds here yet.
These items were packed in our sea freight and when we eventually got it, it was like Christmas! Now that I have been here over 6 months I would add other ‘essentials’.
- spices for cooking, particularly if you enjoy Indian/Thai/Chinese – bring the spices you need.
- an e-book reader – you can have hundreds of books on the one machine. Transporting books adds a lot to the weight of your luggage.
- slingbox set-up. This allows you to watch TV from your home via a laptop or TV. NB. You need to set this up before you leave your base country. More info from: www.slingmedia.com
So the day of our journey came. We left our hometown early and flew to London then to Moscow, Domodedovo airport and finally onto Aktau. The journey went without many problems; we had a delay in London for a few hours but had the time to spare. Before landing in Aktau we had to fill in an immigration card/paper and this was handed in with our passports and visas. All was in order so we carried on to the baggage reclaim area.
NB. Keep the immigration paper safe in your passport as you need it again when you leave Kazakhstan.
We collected our cases and then were surprised to have to show the luggage stub which was carefully checked against our luggage before we were allowed to exit. So don’t lose your luggage stubs! The airport was very busy and there were lots of taxi drivers offering their services. I was glad we were being met and taken to our hotel.
Finding somewhere to live.
It was very comfortable living in the hotel but we wanted to have our own place so the ‘real living’ could begin. We were shown 3 apartments by the company. All were in high-rise buildings like most of the accommodation here and all had the centrally controlled building heating which most of the buildings here have. (The heating is switched on in October and off again around May). All were 2 bedroomed with modern appliances in the kitchen. The decor in 2 were typically Kazakh with dark furniture and colours but the last one we were shown was bright and airy so we chose it on the spot for fear that someone else would take it!
We moved in shortly after and like every new abode it took time for us to settle in. Our sea freight took 3 months to come but when it did and we had our own bits and bobs about the place we felt a lot more comfortable.We have been in the apartment for 5 months now so it is home for the moment.