BureauNothing is easy in Kazakhstan… It takes a lot of hassle and time to get something done, and not only because we don’t speak Russian. We assume that this is partly the result of the almost complete absence of tourism. Employees, even in mid range hotels (obviously we don’t know about the situation in top-end hotels), are just not used to dealing with requests from (foreign) guests. However we also feel that the (observed) apparent passiveness may be a throwback to the Soviet mentality, where it was not expected nor desired to take initiative, since the government organised everything. Is this passive mentality being maintained? Is there little interest in attracting tourists? Kazakhstan is economicaly growing as a result of its abundance of natural resources, and as such is increasingly adopting all the trappings of the western lifestyle (see previous post). However, it looks like the locals’s view of the West doesn’t go beyond that. Also, although people seem to gain more individual wealth, public facilities and infrastructure are clearly lagging behind. We will write more about that in another post. Whatever the reason for the passivity we observe; the truth is there’s a definite lack of customer friendly behaviour in this country.

 One wonderful example, at our hotel reception in Astana:

  • ‘Can we hire a car?’
  • ‘Not possible.’
  • ‘It can’t be possible that we can’t hire a car in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan?’
  • ‘For how many days?’
  • ‘One day’
  • ‘Only one day? That is not much. You want a car with or without driver?’
  • ‘Preferably without, but if not posisble with. Is it so bad driving in Kazakhstan?’
  • ‘A car is very expensive. You can take a bus or a taxi.’
  • ‘We want to go to a city some 100kms away from here, so taxi or bus won’t do.’
  • ‘Do you really have to visit that city?
  • (duh?)

 So many easy requests seem to be so hard to fulfil in Kazakhstan, even if people understand us perfectly well. Some other examples:

 At breakfast in the hotel:

  • ‘Is it possible to have more toast?’
  • ‘Not possible’

At hotel reception when leaving:

  • ‘Can we have a payment receipt?’
  • (…two women at reception discussing, calling someone and after 10 minutes of waiting someone arrived from upstairs with the receipt)
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One Response to ‘Not possible’

  1. Aigerim says:

    I’m a native kazakh. Everything is the real truth

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