I am currently sitting in Petropovlask. That's near Russia, just about 30 miles from there actually. Tomorrow, myself and some other volunteers will dunk ourselves in a river here. The current temperature is about -30 degrees Celcius. We're not crazy; we're just celebrating the Russian Orthodox holiday of Krishenya (Baptism).
I'll post more about this trip when I get back. But a trip from Taraz to Petro turned into Taraz - Astana - Akkul - Kokshetau - Petro - Shuchinks - Taraz.
And I just found a banya hat!