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Old 05-06-2008, 12:25 AM
Location: Macao
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Anyone been to these cities?

How are the people? Dressed-well or fashionable or conservative?

How about the ethnic differences - particularly between Kazakhs, Kyrghi, and Uzbeks?

Which city is most interesting all the way around? Architecture, people, things to do in the daytime and at nighttime?
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Old 05-06-2008, 08:27 AM
Location: AmCit in Philippines
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I lived in Dushanbe for four years and got to Tashkent quite often. All three are cities, to varying degrees, and have slightly same/different things to offer. In the cities, dress will be western (it's in the countryside where the skirt lengths drop and the heads get covered).

Tashkent has some interesting architecture, but mostly, you can get to the really good sites from there (Bukhara and Samarkand), as well as to the former coast line of the Aral sea.

As for cultural differences, the people will vary in their degrees of "Asian-ness" (round faces, dark complection).

Night time entertainment will offer you a variety of expat bars or mafia bars, and cultural events, depending on the season and schedule.

Hope this helps: have fun if you go!
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Old 05-06-2008, 09:54 PM
Location: Macao
15,951 posts, read 36,206,900 times
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Thank you Wastina. I'm also responding to your 'Tashkent' response on the other thread as well. Very informative.

The way you described Tashkent, is it similar with Almaty and Bishkek. Meaning the Mafia/wealthy/slightly dangerous element that is there as well?

About a year ago, I visited Vladivostok Russia. Most of the bars/nightlife had what I would definetely call a mafia presense. Basically some very wealthy men who seemed to wine and dine the most beautiful of women. There weren't any just normal bars that I could find.

Plenty of people were drinking in the streets of Vladivostok, but not a social element that a foreigner would want to expose himself and join in by any means.

Your description of Tashkent on the Tashkent thread was very interesting.

I heard Bishkek has more of a U.S. military presense, so some of the bars cater to that crowd specifically. Do they have a large presense?

Almaty seems to be the most expensive of the region. Seems like it has become more international. So I'll guess a more international businessmen orientation of bars/clubs?

Without having been to any of these cities. I read somewhere that none of them are particularly well-lit, and you should watch yourself if walking around at night? Is that a true statement? Are many people walking around in general in the evening or night? If so, what kind of people are they? From city street pictures that I have seen, it seems like the streets might be generally quite empty of people, particularly at night?
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Old 05-08-2008, 10:30 AM
Location: AmCit in Philippines
351 posts, read 1,721,171 times
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The cities mirror their economic status. Kaz is wealthier than Uz, which is wealthier than Kyrg. You're not going to find a huge international community there: those who live there (with the exception of some of the catting-about expat types) aren't likely out in bars every night. The night life for expats is more likely to find the local mafia type (i.e., the ones with money) and the business traveller on the prowl.

Uz threw out the US military a few years ago. While there is still a presence in Bishkek, I suspect that the military largely stay on base. You're not likely to run into them at night (although you may run in to US Embassy marines or off-duty Afghan-based military, to the extent that they are roaming Kyrgyzstan).

Crime is a problem everywhere. If you're not carrying pockets of money and walking around at 2:00 in the morning, you're not likely to have a problem. The opportunistic druggie will take advantage (everywhere). Unless you're drawing attention to yourself, your greater risk is falling into uncovered manholes or twisting your ankle on unever pavement.

As for the mafia, they are not a dangerous element unless you are doing something which touches on their business. If you live and let live, and don't try to pick up their women, engage with them in gambling, or other turf interferance, they won't care about you.

Are you going to the region on business? I find that the experiences of the country are much richer walking around the city early morning (and seeing who's sweeping streets, and how) and walking through the market than looking for late-night entertainment. After hours activities gets you "in" to a non-representative sub-set of the cultures you're visiting.
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