27km out of Sara Bulak village, we came to a rest at a petrol kiosk. We were only 15km from Kordai town, according to the kiosk attendant. The Chinese from the 1st Cow Skin factory had told us of another cow skin factory around Kordai.
We asked the attendant of any Chinese people around Kordai.
“Kitaski adam? Bar!” (Chinese people? Have!)
And he pointed across the road to a factory building …
(Kazakhstan … 10.03.05 to 23.04.05)
In our 2nd cow skin factory with the boss (infront of Sean) and the Chinese workers over lunch. It was in such pure concidence that we managed to locate them. Sometimes, things just turned out so unexpectedly in our journey … *wink*
The drums of the 2nd factory. This was unlike the previous factory because it was originally an actual cow skin factory (tannery) opened by the Soviets in the early 90s. After the collapse of the Soviet era, it was vacant until the Chinese came 4 yrs ago. The rental of the whole site is US$8000/mth, excluding utilities!
The cow fur and skin separation stations. The female workforce dominated in the 2nd factory because they had bad experience with the male workers before – drinking problems! (picture) The large piece of cow skin been thrown to a side is the 1st layer, used to make quality leather products.
Eating together with Milanti, a Chinese muslim of Kazak origin, his wife, the factory clerk and our 2 Chinese friends, Xiao Ning and Jing Wei, while Lenin watches from the stage. They have 2 kitchens there serving Chinese and muslim food everyday. Milanti hails from Urumqi, Xinjiang and their diet is mainly bread (nan) and handmade noodles with no pork dishes.
A basketball session with the locals. Xiao Ning and Jing Wei were the exceptional ones who prefer to past time after work with sports, such as basketball. The rest of the Chinese would normally watch TV or play cards, gambling thru’ the night. This indoor basketball court was in a village school.
With some of the ‘extended’ family of the Chinese workers there. One of the guy, San Mao ploughs and grows vegetables on his Russian girlfriend’s land where we took this picture. Well, girlfriends, agriculture … definitely another alternative to passing time in Kazakhstan! *grin*
Xiao Ning boiling jiao zhi, Chinese dumplings for dinner. We even had a hand in making the jiao zhi. The northerners (in China) make and eat more jiao zhi than the southerners. Jiao zhi is also widely eaten during the Chinese New Year for the northern folks.
Cheers to our newfound friends! Jing Wei (2nd left) is from WenZhou, Southeast China and Xiao Ning, the more talkative among them, hails from XinJiang, near the Kazak border. Under the companionship of these 2 new friends, we eventually stayed 3 nights in that factory.