Everyone hitchhikes in Kazakhstan.
As there are no taxis, every private vehicle can, in effect, pick up hitchhikers and charge them a fee.
Almost everyone we met in Kazakhstan had a finger in a business pie. It was impressive. Ainur, for example, who was about 25, had her own shop and rented her living room out to 6 students, whilst Ali, who was 27, had opened his own private school.
Impressive as the entrepreneurial spirit is, it made it difficult for us to hitchhike in Kazakhstan. Imagine what the people here, newly drunk on capitalism, thought when they saw us? A couple of “rich” Europeans (in spite of our clothes / odor).
We could almost see the dollar signs spinning in their eyes when they saw us. Our hosts were invariably disappointed when we refused to pay the astronomical prices they quoted us.
Although its easy to hitchhike in the cities, it’s difficult to find a fair price
Once out of Almaty, the roads seriously deteriorate and the traffic becomes very infrequent. The infrastructure, however, is changing, as the revenue from oil money starts to trickle into the State’s coffers.