What is this place? What is this city like? What makes its people tick? And now I've gained a tiny window into its citizens' lives.
It is likely to involve plov, shorpa, non ... and quite a lot of vodka.
The past is not always distant in this part of the world.
Welcome to Astana, Kazakhstan. Welcome to a strange and fascinating city...
No matter how many times you've visited Asia, there's always something new to discover.
For much of last century, Uzbekistan was in Moscow's iron grip and few visitors reached the most splendid of the "Stans". Now it's in the midst of a creative and cultural revival that some have dubbed the Uzbek Spring.
It's strange to be here and to see this place and its people and to know that they're real. This is the home of Borat. And the joke is on them.
The cold will sap your energy, the mosquitoes are huge, there are ticks and the alcohol can be dodgy: travelling through Siberia is no picnic – but the rewards are plentiful.