Almaty
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An Apple's Garden of Eden, Beware Taking a Bite
Almaty is an unusual city. Foremost, it has adapted to changing times faster than any other Central Asian city. Second, it is a green city. It still feels like walking through a forest. Most buildings are niftily (& nearly entirely) hidden by trees; perhaps it helps that many are 5-story (due to high seismic activity.) Which suggest that, though, the city is decorated w/numerous parks & gardens, fountains & flower-beds -- as it stretches out along the foothills of the Zailiiski Alatau range ~~ ironically, apple orchards, which used to protect the city from mudslides & avalanches, began to disappear in the Soviet era of development that has accelerated w/major urban growth in the 90's & through today. And, so did the taste of apples: the city now routinely sells genetically modified, flavorless apples from China. They look great & keep for months, even after you take a bite. Yet the apple remains the eye's prize. So while the city of apples might have none to offer, you can still find the most delicious ones just a few hours traverse away. Amongst these are wild apples w/genes to increase resistance to pests & diseases, as well as to produce tastier fruit w/higher nutritional value. In these woods are innumerable traits of commercial importance that have not yet been identified; but its existence is confirmed by even a cursory visit. Simply keep the snow peaks of the Tian Shan to your East & you'll discover orchards of old apple woods with a healthy age range.
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