Almaty, Kazakhstan

  • Date
  • 21 March 1999
  • Lodging
  • Hyatt Regency Almaty
  • Distance
  • 252 KM
  • Total
  • 13307 KM

21 March 1999 – Fifty kilometers before Almaty, we stopped for lunch on the side of the road at a yurt stop (15 yurts congregated by the highway). Honestly, twenty people rose from homemade seats cheering our yellow sensation as we parked! They had never seen anything like us pull up. Irene, a 22-year-old, brown-haired Kazak woman, invited us for tea in her yurt. Along with her mother, she served us meat, onions, bread, boiled eggs and sweet tea. In broken English, college-educated Irene, with excited, sparkling eyes, said we were the first Americans she had met. She reminded me of a double rainbow, a rare find. Our differences in country, color and culture simply did not matter. Before leaving, we took a Polaroid picture beside our car with Irene and her mother. Irene hugged me saying, “I’m so proud,” and ran to her yurt for something she valued in return. She presented me with a disposable, pink plastic pen, now a prized possession.