Postcard from... Astana
Friday 30 May 2014
Among the futuristic structures that sprout from the billiard-table flat steppes of Astana, Kazakhstan’s readymade capital, stands Norman Foster’s glass and steel Khan Shatyr Entertainment Centre – otherwise known as the world’s largest tent.
Starting from the tapered 500ft summit, the so-called Royal Marquee houses an artificial beach and heated pool – a welcome refuge for the Astana bourgeoisie when the winter temperature outside plummets to minus 40C.
On lower floors, among plastic dinosaurs and artificial palms, shoppers can stock up on the usual upmarket brands that are must-haves for the globalised new rich. It’s a mall you could find anywhere – from Shanghai to Albuquerque.
For more of a Kazakh experience, head to the basement. The supermarket there is geared overwhelmingly to local tastes. Horsemeat sausage heads the limited butchery range, while shelves of local vodka, brandy and other assorted hooch extend as far as the eye can see. Reflecting a local cuisine in which crisps appear to be classed as a vegetable, pickles predominate.
One resident expat recently got excited when he spotted a solitary avocado pear. But he baulked at a price tag that worked out at the equivalent of £12.
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- 5 Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
iPhone 6 'hidden code' could indicate sharper screens or bigger phones
Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: 'These are completely fake' say singer's representatives
A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Kate Upton nude pictures leak: Model's representatives 'looking into' authenticity of naked images
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...
£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...