I consider myself an explorer more than a tourist. My idea of travel is just wandering around cities and other locations to experience life there, more so than to check off a laundry list of sights, foods, etc. But on this recent trip to Kazakhstan, I could not pass up the opportunity to visit the Uralsk Sea... or what used to be it, at least. During the USSR's control of Central Asia, huge cotton, wheat and other agricultural projects were undertaken to make the region the breadbasket of the Soviet empire. In the blind pursuit of this goal, scientists actually drained over 70% of the Uralsk Sea, destroying all life and industry it contained. This was so gradual that the fishing boats that sailed the water ended up stranded on the now barren steppe. Originally there were 13 ships, but gradually, due to heath and environmental issues and just the value of the scrap metal, these ships have been slowly dismantled. So I consider myself a lucky tourist to be able to see this sight while it still exists, but I will be even happier to return and see life again in the water and a brighter future for those living on its shores.