May 1st is a national holiday in Kazakhstan, essentially to celebrate the work of the people. Kazakhstan People’s Unity Day, as it is officially called, is one of the many public holidays which people look forward to. It fell on a Wednesday, meaning that our week was split into two nice smaller segments.
A lovely, bright morning led to the Sun shimmering against the metallic skyline of Astana. We headed towards the pyramid, where we were told that a large parade was going to take place at about 10am. We were keen to see as much of this as possible, making it thus unfortunate that we woke up at about 11am.
Though we did miss President Nazarbayev speaking to his people, we did arrive in time to see an intriguing concert involving many young singers and dancers.
Against this loud and bizarre backdrop lay a collection of plastic yurts, containing food and tea from various restaurants in the city. The intricate patterns, though plasticised, gave more colour and vibrancy to the street.
We went to this Kaz extravaganza with a few friends, including a drummer who comes to our school called Ala, who is from Ghana. It was phenomenal to see the interest in someone who has a different skin colour. Scores of locals were lining up to have their picture taken with him. It gives an indication into cultural attitudes in Kazakhstan.
It was a sunny, breezy day: perfect for a holiday. A patriotic and happy crowd were left to enjoy their day off, celebrating their day off whilst paying respect to the fact that they’ll be back in work the following day. Doesn’t happen in Britain!
Love you all,