When my brother and I told friends we'd be driving across Kazakhstan, we got plenty of jokes referencing the cartoonishly backwards image they had of the country after watching Sacha Baron Cohen's 2006 mockumentary Borat.
But we were about to discover that the real-life nation of Kazakhstan was almost nothing like what was portrayed on the screen!
Kazakhstan is an enormous country, about one third the size of the United States (not including Alaska), and it turned out to be a place that constantly surprised us.
Far from being uncivilized, the city of Almaty -- with a giant Ritz-Carlton hotel -- seemed fairly wealthy, modern, and advanced. While we didn't have time to go to one of its famous spas, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to go to a Kazakh wedding where we were served traditional foods...
We enjoyed music and dancing...
And saw some rather unique entertainment...
Kazakhstan is a place where marijuana grows wild along the roadsides
And local people whom you've just met are so kind that they'll take you out on their motorboat
and fix your car without accepting anything in return!
Listen to the latest episode of Far From Home to hear all about our crazy adventures!
Finally, I wanted to let you know about a campaign I’m taking part in, called #2PodsADay, which aims to introduce podcast listeners to two independent podcasts every day, for the month of July. The aim is to give visibility to some of the great indie podcasts that you probably haven’t heard of. You can find more shows like Far From Home by following #2PodsADay on Twitter and Facebook.
Thanks for listening!
Photos by Drew Gurian