Sunday, 5 February 2012

Kazakhstan – The first days of -40’C

January 11-February 5

 Hello everyone!

I mentioned last time that the cold snap would curtail our adventures, and unfortunately the weather has taken a nasty turn for the worse over the past month. Temperatures have dipped to the point where anything ‘higher’ than -30’C seems like a warm day.

Kazakh fun fact: Astana is the second coldest capital city in the world, with only Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia recording colder temperatures. Over the past five years, however, Kazakhstan’s capital has often been colder than its Mongolian counterpart, so arguably we do live in the coldest capital city on Earth…

The Russian word for ‘cold’, ho-LOD-na холодно, has been used regularly in any taxi that we have been fortunate enough to flag down. Haileybury Astana is the only school that stays open in these extreme conditions – all state school close below -32’C. Our school is open, even though parts of it resemble a scene from The Day After Tomorrow...

The cold snap has resulted in us staying in on weekends and not being willing to continue the exploration of our home. My plan to do a river dip – known as walrusing – has been put on hold until the temperatures rise to the point where I wouldn’t turn into an ice statue within seconds of escaping the chilly water. Board games, movies and lesson plans will suffice as entertainment for now.

On one of the relatively milder days we decided to run around the ice maze that had been constructed on the river. It’s probably more of a challenge for the vertically challenged, but was good – if slippery – fun. Even though I lost…

We have also continued to sledge and slide down onto the river, and freeze our faces off as we walk from the gym to the bus stop. I’ve had a couple of nasty experiences where the wind has begun to swirl and make the night air feel even colder, so it is best to stay indoors for now. We are counting down the days from when we wake up in -40’C to one week from now, when we will wake up in a much hotter climate…

Love you all


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