In the collection of short stories "Survivors without Google", Kazakh author Zhagpar Yegizbayev recalls interesting and funny stories and adventures from life, which, to a greater extent, can only be understood by Kazakh people themselves or foreigners who have lived in Kazakhstan for a certain number of years.
The book includes three chapters or series: "The Jokes of Our Town", "The Adventures of Expats in Atyrau", "The Crazy 90s". Each episode consists of five to eight stories.
Below is the content of some of the most striking stories from each of the three series mentioned above. The stories are conducted on behalf of the author Zhagpar Yegizbayev, we will call him the author.
From the series "The Jokes of Our Town"
Legends and myths of Kitkray. "Debit" - There were many suburbs in the old town of Guryev, about which legends and unprecedented stories were composed. These were Yelshibek, White Depot, Black Depot, Old Airport, First Section, Hard Worker, Kursai, and Kitkray. There are many disputes about where that name came from and along which streets the border of that legendary area passed. Everyone interpreted in their own way and tried to stretch the boundaries of Kitkray so that their street was there. People were imbued with great respect for the people from Kitkray. At the same time, most of the legends about people were associated with by no means exemplary behavior and law-abiding. One of the legends refers to the late 60s or early 70s. Then there were few vehicles in the country, and in Atyrau, there were only a few.
So, about 50 years ago on Kitkray's street Krasnoarmeyskaya (now Nazhimedenova) from the side of Krasnaya street (now Makatayeva), a GAZ-69 car drove in. At that time, the whole Soviet Union called this car a "goat", and Atyrau residents – "debit". The driver, having turned off the engine, went home to a friend living there. And when I went out after drinking tea, I didn't find the car. There was a car at the other end of the street. At the same time, the frame of the car rested on four bricks. The cabin was without doors, without an engine, and without wheels.
The driver appealed to the police, but they could not find the guilty, as well as the missing parts of the car. It turned out that the car belonged to an organization recently headed by a native of Kitkray. He went out to fellow countrymen, had a heart-to-heart talk with "individuals on a special account."
One fine day, the driver, who was already out of work, was visited by the son of the friend from whom he was drinking tea on that unfortunate day. And he said that his father was calling him to visit. It was something like a consolation for the dastarkhan (served table) for the driver who was depressed by the blow of fate. When the driver went outside, he was numb from surprise and nearly fainted. In front of the house stood his "debit" in full assembly.
From the series "The Adventures of Expats in Atyrau"
Features of national hospitality - At the end of the 90s, various kinds of investors began to frequent the city of Atyrau. Someone wanted to build a meat processing plant, someone wanted to process wool, and others. According to the laws of hospitality, incredible honors were waiting for each of them, usually through local businessmen. Thus, one day a certain Jean came from France, who specialized in the manufacture of fish delicacies. In fact, it was difficult to find an interpreter from French, but, eventually, she was found. It was inconvenient to talk about business immediately upon arrival, so Sake, a local entrepreneur, took the Frenchman to lunch at the best restaurant in the city. Jean, Sake and the interpreter were accompanied by friends Bake and Make.
Bake was there because of his extreme resistance to alcoholic beverages – he never got drunk and did not lose his mind. He was often included in the delegations of various kinds of matchmaking. The two-meter-tall, kind-hearted Make joined them only because he was a good guy.
At the end of lunch, it became clear that Jean was tired and he was taken to the sauna, without an interpreter, of course. Jean felt a little better in the sauna because of the cold pool, but not for long.
Sake ordered to bring beshbarmak or Kazakh meat (boiled meat mixed with dough) to the sauna. Jean felt really bad when, as a dear guest, he was given the head of a ram. Make dexterously dismembered the head into its main parts, terrifying Jean with every movement. At some point, he pulled out the eyes of a ram, giving one to Bake, the other to Jean with the words "Be a support!"
Jean categorically refused to take the organ in his hands, while Make and Bake expressed their dissatisfaction. Then, with a deft movement, Make opened the ram's skull, dumped the brains into a cup, filled it with broth and handed it to Jean, "This is a real delicacy, you don't have that."
Jean was speechless, he looked piteously at the Kazakhs and shook his head. A huge Make loomed over Jean and said, "The fattest ram was slaughtered for you," he showed with the edge of his palm passing over the throat and getting closer to the Frenchman. At some point, Jean lost consciousness. The Kazakhs brought him to his senses by slapping and splashing water from the swimming pool and decided to take Jean home. Sake urgently dialed his wife and informed her that he was going with the guests.
The wife of an Atyrau businessman, hardened by a lot of receptions of guests, understood her husband half a word and began to put tea with a kuyrdak (national meat dish) from the same freshly cut ram. In the hallway lay the singed legs of a ram.
Sake's son laid out korpeshki (mattresses) in the living room and motioned for Jean to sit down. Sake, Make and Bake went outside to smoke before drinking tea. When they returned, they saw that Jean was sleeping on the floor without a pillow, taking off his socks and pulling his knees into his stomach. He realized that they would not kill him today and that he was even allowed to sleep.
From the series "The Crazy 90s"
Colt equalizes the odds - Mid-90s. The author and his companions were approached with a request – it was necessary to deliver a wagon of potatoes. Although they did not specialize in that, they still agreed to satisfy the request of a respected person. Since there were no options in Kazakhstan, they called their long-time partner from the Russian city of Ulyanovsk, a certain Kuzmich, who got in touch a couple of hours later and said that he had found them a root crop in Chuvashia. In the 90s there was a crisis of payment systems and their bank transfer would have reached the supplier in a month, and in the worst, but real case, it would have been completely lost. There were no plastic cards in circulation then, so it was necessary to carry cash. The author had to go to Chuvashia and soon the cherry car was taking the author and his two companions with a package of cash to Russia.
At first, we decided to go to the city of Ulyanovsk to Kuzmich and wisely left money with his guys, because they could have been thrown.
The destination turned out to be a collective farm named after either some anniversary of the Komsomol, or the next congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, while it retained not only the collective farm system, the name, but even the head in the person of the chairman, let it be San Sanych. At the office of the collective farm, there were already four ready-made KAMAZ trucks with trailers, loaded to the top with potatoes. It was unwise to keep them until the money was brought from Ulyanovsk – the cold weather was coming. Therefore, San Sanych decided to take the author and one of his guys, as well as their car hostage and gave instructions to send a cargo of potatoes to Ulyanovsk, and another of the guys of the author's companions left with the KAMAZ trucks to "show the way".
In one day, while they were waiting for the money, San Sanych just fucked them up with his boring collective farm habits. He boasted that he was a former promising boxer, Candidate for Master of Sports of the USSR, even represented his subordinates only in sports regalia – the chief agronomist – 1st class in wrestling, the chief accountant – the champion of the district (with disdain) in long-distance running. Apparently, he wanted to scare, which especially annoyed Kuzmich, but he endured and saved up his anger until a certain moment.
The money was on the way and to kill time, the author invited colleagues to dinner. The only catering company in the town, frozen in the 70s of the last century, was owned by a certain indigenous resident named Vazgen. All toasts were made: to San Sanych's health, to the boxers, and so on. Soon Kuzmich, who was a former civilian pilot who remained out of work after the collapse of the Soviet Union, took the floor. Being well-read, always elegantly dressed, weighing every word, he looked more like a diplomat than a businessman.
Thus, Kuzmich advised San Sanych to study chess, not boxing, and if he had been engaged in chess, it would have been clear long ago that there would be no money. And he added that the author, that is, Zhagpar is not a Kazakh at all, but a Buryat from Moscow (then there was a topic about Buryat scams in everyday life). Then Kuzmich pointed his finger at Marat and said that he was not a hardworking driver, but a bandit. Marat smiled broadly, showing half a mouth of golden teeth. And he added that Marat had a firearm in his bosom, and he really had an inner pocket of a short leather jacket sticking out. But as a matter of fact, in addition to his driver's license and technical passport, he kept various things in his pocket, like a map of the Middle Volga region and the flight schedules of the Atyrau airport.
Kuzmich also pointed to Marat's hands and said that there was a trace of soot from gunpowder on them, the day before he helped his father sort out the engine from the ZIL-130.
At that time, San Sanych slowly, but sobered up. Two feelings were fighting in him: to hit Kuzmich or to call the police. Kuzmich added that Zhagpar and the guys did not need potatoes at all, but San Sanych's KAMAZ trucks were needed. Immediately after crossing the border, they would dump the potatoes into the field, change the license plates, and sell the cars to ready-made buyers, and the Chuvash drivers would be sold into slavery in Uzbekistan. He also said that their car, which he drove into the garage before the money was brought, was no longer in the garage. The car was stolen, the license plates were fake, the owner was lying with a broken head somewhere in the bushes, and even San Sanych would have to pay for dinner himself.
Right around the time, it was visible through the window that a BMW vehicle drove up to the restaurant and two short-haired guys got out of the car, who were dressed in black leather raincoats, the lower parts of which were also for some reason stuck up. They silently approached the table and one of them handed Kuzmich a familiar Atyrau package. Then Kuzmich admitted that he was just joking. Driving away from the office of the collective farm, it was clear that San Sanych was still standing motionless holding a package in his hand.
The stories are very exciting and, although many of them are not personally close to me, they are close to my parents' generation. From the lips of my parents and from childhood memories, I remember the moments of those times when I was very young, I found the collapse of the Soviet Union, thereby, certian pictures and fragments are especially memorable and alive in my memory. Thanks to such funny real stories from the past, the world becomes brighter and kinder. So, we must pay tribute to the author Zhagpar Yegizbayev, who managed to convey the flavor and atmosphere of those times intelligibly, in simple language, easily and naturally.
Сover picture: from open sources
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