Kazakhstan: Not very -stan like.


If you got all the other -stans and put them together, the resulting country would still be smaller than this place: the 9th largest country in the world, with a maximum of about 20 million people living here. Basically, it’s empty and flat.
When the Mongol hordes came through they killed everybody in sight and continued on their merry way to the gates of Vienna. As the terrified citizens of Vienna awaited their certain slaughter, the hordes suddenly upped and left to go home for a funeral and a world class fight to decide who got to be King, etc.
They left their genetic code in this place though, and some of the locals enjoy a reputation for serious cruelness. I witnessed this at the embassy in London, where the following exchange took place in front of me between a South African and a Kazakh embassy employee:
South African: Hi, I’d like to collect my visa (hands over passport).
Kazakh Embassy: Thank you, please fill out this form and come back on Thursday (this was happening on a Tuesday).
SA: I filled out these forms and sent them in two weeks ago – I can’t come back on Thursday, I’m flying to Johannesburg tonight.
K: Thank you, please fill out this form and come back on Thursday.
SA (Becoming agitated): I just told you I can’t come back on Thursday and I sent the forms two weeks ago.
K: Blink. Impassive stare.
SA (More agitated): What are you going to do to sort this out?
K: Blink. Impassive stare.
SA: (Postively cross): This is ridiculous. I just won’t travel unless this gets sorted!
K: Blink. Impassive stare.
SA (Livid): Oh, for fuck’s sake. Leaves.
K: (Smiles.) Hi, can I help you?
Excellent people. More news from the front in due course.