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What happened to Olde Albion?

This sums up Britain for me. The infrastructure is still there, the grass is still green on this side of the fence, but the paint is peeling and the glass is smashed. And there are still millions who havenít seen.

Republic Square, Almaty, Kazakhstan


Sinai Peninsula, near Sharm el Sheikh


Chimbulak, near Almaty

This is about 5km from Almaty. Itís taken at a place called Medeo and is a view up the hill to Chimbulak, the ski resort. It looks nice but in fact it is not the nicest part of the landscape here. The nicer reaches are just a bit further on. The area is being Ďdevelopedí for the Asian Winter Games in 2011. I put that in inverted commas because I didnít want people to think skyscrapers. The resort is being upgraded very nicely ahead of the major sporting event Kazkahstan won instead of the Winter Olympics it also bid for.

No, those are not clouds floating over the city

This is a view down onto the Steppes from Chimbulak, the local ski resort. Itís encouraging and depressing. Depressing because it shows us how polluted Almaty is, encouraging in that it shows that itís relatively easy to get out of the smog. That day was particularly bad, but thereís nothing to suggest it was a complete one-off. Best not to think about it too much.

Traditional Kazakh Costumes


Ala Too Square, Bishkek, on a day without protests