In the Bleak Midwinter, not the Gustar Holst version but the Dostyk, Atyrau version. Here we are in early December and winter is upon us. However with freshly fallen snow, sun shining and crystal clear blue sky it’s not so bleak after all. The wind when it blows make ripples on the snow like sand on a beach. The Ural River alongside us is starting to freeze over, and the fearless ice fishermen cometh. Treacherously balanced on wooden boxes on the thin ice, they sit for hours on end. Bottles of vodka their only warmth from the biting cold. Later in the winter cars will venture onto the ice to avoid the traffic jams in town. A dangerous and final short cut for some.