I have a good friend whose name is Altukha. Every time I speak about Kazakh hospitality, I remember him. Why hospitality? Altukha invites foreigners to his house, gives them a place to spend several nights, his family set the “dastarkhan” (table with lots of different national food) with our tasty foods, and, of course, show them the true Almaty.
” Here we drink three cups of tea to do business; the first you are a stranger, the second you become a friend, and the third, you join our family …”
Excerpt from Greg Mortenson’s book “Three Cups of Tea”
After every trip to one city of India or another, I learn more about this nation, these people, and find some points of contact with my own culture. For example, Varanasi – spiritual city, which you have to feel; Amritsar – is the city of great warriors, who fought for their independence; Agra – culture and architecture, and Jaipur – hospitality.
“Guest is our God, and for the God we would do everything we are capable of.”
Tuk-tuk driver, Raja
Everything has begun on early Saturday morning when all foreigners from Delhi have gathered on Rajiv Chowk station and traveled to Jaipur.
At the same day, I have got foodborne intoxication, which was not a very pleasant beginning of our trip. It was raining and our way was long.
Reaching the “Pink city”, we went to Festival of Cultures, which was arranged by one of the international organizations. At this event, Azamat, one guy from Kazakhstan and I have presented our country, told about the history of our country, our culture, and of course, we offered to try “kurt” (cheese product) and “Kazakhstan” chocolate.
Randomness is not random. I have come to such conclusion after my trip to Jaipur. I have randomly met tuk-tuk driver Raja on that day. It was hot, we had to find some water in bottles in an unknown city. Raja was shouting a few words in English like “My friend”, “Hello”, “Excuse me”, he wanted to help me, but I was not turning back to look at him thinking “No, you won’t sell me anything”. Well ok, eventually I gave up and turned back to look at him, he had a very wide smile and funny “Handlebar” style mustache. He let me get in his tuk-tuk and drove me to the nearest shop. When I came back from the store, he showed me his notebook full of feedback from different foreigners (there were a lot of them, but there was no one from Kazakhstan). We gave our contacts to each other and said goodbye on this pleasant and funny note.
By the same evening, my plans for the second day of the trip have changed dramatically, I never thought that meeting Raja would help me in organizing a tour for the second day. We had a conversation with him at about midnight: we have discussed all prices, places to visit, timelines, and eventually agreed to meet near the hostel we stayed in at 8 o’clock in the morning.
The second day of our trip appeared to be very productive and full of discovery. Jaipur appeared to be the city of first emotions, impressions, and discoveries. Riding and elephant, feeding monkeys, driving tuk-tuk on the highway, visiting second largest wall in the World and so much more.
So, why does hospitality associated with Jaipur for me? In the evening Raja got us to his brother to let us have a rest. Having set the humble meal with chicken barbecue and bottle of whiskey, we have emerged in a discussion about their experience. For example, it appeared to be that Raja is a traveler, he has traveled across the Europe, and now he is planning to visit other countries. His brother is a tailor, he met Prince William in Rajasthan, when the prince was visiting Jaipur together with his wife Kate and made a suit for him.
On the thought, which stayed with me after this trip was about love to my own country. Altukha also loves his country and shows foreigners Kazakhstan from a better perspective, and those in its turn, after coming back home, like a jungle telegraph would spread stories among their friends about how good it is in Kazakhstan, building up positive impressions about our country in the heart of the Europe and Asia.
You don’t usually think about such stuff until it breaks into your life.
Raja has +1 feedback now, and the word “Kazakhstan” in his notebook will stay with him as