On The Third Day He Arose!

Obviously I am referring to the fact that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, which we will be celebrating soon. It appears this is true for me also. This is my third day in Ust-Kamenogorsk and I think I am finally alive. I did wake up at 2 am, but went back to sleep at 3am. Traveling can be difficult.

Yesterday I met Masha and Yurislava. They were two young ladies, one a college student and the other a university student, who took me to the Nauryz festival in the square. We walked from my hotel to a bus stop. It was a little distance, but I did get to see the many different buildings in Ust-Kamenogorsk. I’ll tell you more about the buildings later.

There was an interesting sculpture along the way, so I asked if I could take Masha and Yurislava’s picture and they agreed. I have posted it on Facebook. They were very nice young ladies and told me much about the culture of their city.

When we got to the bus stop we had to find the right bus that was not completely full. Everyone was travelling to the square to have a bite to eat or watch the festivities. There were young men climbing a greased pole. There were many different singers singing traditional Kazakh songs and Russian songs. I found out that after World War II, many Russians moved to Kazakhstan, but after it became a Republic, with more of an emphasis on its Kazakh roots, many Russians have moved back to Russia.

The girls took pictures of me by a traditional Yurta; I did tell them we have Yurts in many campgrounds in the United States. They also took a picture of me with two young Kazakh women in white dresses. I sent my wife a message that I must have said something wrong in Russian because I was bringing home two new wives. I have not heard from here since. Maybe I am in the sobach’ya budka.

We eventually sat down for lunch in a nice restaurant; I told them I would pay for lunch. As we were sitting there Masha got a telephone call. Aizhan, who was one of the first KAFU professors to visit Warner Pacific, called her and said he wanted to meet us. She told him where we were and he said not to leave until he got there. He arrived just in time to pay for lunch, for which I was grateful.

After we talked for a while, Aizhan drove me back to my hotel. As we were driving I mentioned how the buildings in Ust remind me of Kulaga, Russia. He stated that they were, and then said something that amazed me. Many of the larger buildings were built in the time of Stalin and Khrushchev.

Khrushchyovka buildings were low-cost concrete-paneled buildings 3 to 5 stories tall, and functioned as apartment buildings. The concept was developed in the USSR in the early 1960’s. These were efficient buildings, but were considered temporary housing to be replaced when a mature Communism would emerge. I also found out that Leonid Brezhnev had made promises that people would have apartments with a room for every person, and that the small apartments found in Khrushchyovka buildings would be eliminated. But as I saw yesterday people are still living in those buildings with security doors. There were other buildings that Aizhan pointed out that were built by Stalin, which were very similar to the Khrushchev architecture.

As we walked by the buildings I thought about a time in Kaluga when Ralph Castle had been given a door code to get into one of the buildings. All of the apartment buildings had a security door that needed a code to get into. We needed to pick up a guide to walk with us around Kaluga. We got to the door, Ralph put the number into the keypad, the door opened and we went in. We proceeded to the door that we were supposed to pick up our friend at and knocked. No one answered, so Ralph started banging harder. BANG, BANG, BANG! He thought the person might be sleeping. It turned out we were at the wrong building, the code must have worked for several buildings, and we were at the wrong apartment. All of a sudden we heard a little old lady say in Russian from behind the door “I have called the police.” We promptly left. As much as I have whined about the difficultly of the trip, I love traveling.

And that is my thought for the day!

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