A column of Porches holds up traffic outside our hotel. Down the road, workmen put the finishing touches to the city’s newest Armani store. The bar round the corner serves up sushi and shishas. The streets are clean, green. Not a beggar in sight. This could be anywhere. This beautiful, happening city surrounded by snowcapped mountains. This happening city littered with gigantic monuments from its Soviet past. Borat would feel out of place here.
Our translator laughs when someone asks about the film that made Kazahkstan famous. “It’s a joke on the Americans,” he says. “Everyone knows that. “
No one tells him that not everyone knows that. But then again, he probably doesn’t care. Not him. Not the hordes of young people clinking glasses at Almaty’s hip, hip cafes. They’re too busy having a ball. Who cares what the rest of the ignorant world thinks?