There was clearly a reason I did not get around to writing this post last week as I planned. My Spidy-sense must have foreseen the blizzard now hitting the Midwest this weekend. Never fear friends, I bring you tidings of heat and humidity…even if it is of the artificial variety!
Astana has pretty miserable weather throughout the winter. It’s extremely cold, icy, and has winds like I’ve never experienced before. However, people have found ways to cope, primarily with going to the banyas. Unfortunately, this winter visiting a banya was out of the question since I am pregnant. Alcohol, lots of it, seems to be another remedy for passing the winter, was also unavailable to me. There is, however, a beach in Astana.
“A beach? You are 1800 miles from the sea! Where is there a beach?” To which I answer, “In a mall, naturally.”
I read about the Sky Beach Club before I even moved to Astana, but never managed to go. Last weekend a friend proposed we go and I was definitely in – the day was dreary, it was cold, and I was feeling very blah from winter. The perfect day for a cheery pick-me-up! Was it expensive, yes (7,500 to 10,000 tenge depending on when you go, so about $22-30), but worth seeing at least once. Did it feel nice to not be buried under a winter coat for several hours, you bet!
Located on the top floor in Khan Shatyr, the tent-looking mall, the humidity and heat hit the moment you enter the beach area. Spectacular! The beach itself is made up of sand imported all the way from the Maldives. It feels constantly damp and sticks to one’s person for a long time…like a proper beach. There are two pools, one is a regular, large swimming pool surrounded by greenery and abuts the gently sloping beach, and another, a wave pool, is on the other side of the complex surrounded by faux rocks and a waterfall. There are also a few water slides, a beach volleyball area, a sandy soccer field, as well as a beach bar. Plenty of things to keep one entertained!
While I lounged around not doing much of anything for a few hours, I kept returning to the same thought – the Mall of America needs to up its game and get Minnesotans an indoor beach ASAP! Hang in there friends, we are almost to summer!