ALMATY IS TRULY the Dubai of the ‘stans. Skyscrapers and cars abound and very few people walk. Kazakhstan’s resources and size have made it wealthy, but the wealth trickles down to very few. Drive into the countryside and you’ll find the same poor villages as in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Apart from crossing the border, you’ll see most of our initial footage is shot at night. Almaty has a thriving club scene, much of it on the seedier side. We were invited to play a rock club with “go-go dancers” that turned out to be a strip club. As well as strippers, karaoke is incredibly popular here.
About three days into our arrival in Almaty, we read news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. Most people in Almaty either did not care or believed it was propaganda disseminated by the Americans.
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Musician and video journalist Ru Owen left London three years ago due to a case of extreme boredom and hasn't been back since. Living in Kabul, Afghanistan amongst a small, but dedicated group of rockers, filmmakers, photographers and drifters, she joined White City in 2009 and has since led them all over Central Asia, including playing and filming Afghanistan's first rock festival in 2011. She's currently working freelance, making short news features and promos, while developing Big In The Stans as a full-length documentary.