By Zeena Urynbassarova
I was driving down the Makhambet Street when I suddenly saw an elegant horse-drawn carriage was coming from the opposite direction. A harnessed beautiful trotter was steadily hoofbeating, while a wide-brimmed hat wearing coachman with a whip was sitting on an elevated perch. There were passengers inside the carriage.
I made a U-turn and followed the carriage, all along the ride trying to recall everything I knew about coaches and carriages. In old days you normally “call” a coach, but carriages and landaus were needed to be “ordered”. Landaus were popular with those who liked to flaunt their material wealth. And tilt carts were widespread among nomadic people- a kind of mobile housing that had no seats, but passengers travelled in lying position.
When the carriage made a stop at Zhilgorodok, I approached the carriage driver to ask questions and satisfy my curiosity:
-Excuse me, are you a “taxi”?
-No, today is the holiday- the Day of the Capital and the birthday of the president. So, I decided to have a ride with my friends and also test run my new acquisition, – said the driver who presented himself as Aseke (Aslanbek) Zhanbalaev.
Aseke said that the carriage was fabricated in Poland. They made a copy of the 18th century landau.The wheels were made of wood, soft saloon was upholstered with leather. It had breaks, shock absorbers and a hand-break. At the back of the carriage there was a luggage-box. On both sides there were hanging lanterns for night-time travel. Well, it was as if it leapt from the pages of the fairy tale about Cinderella!
Jet-black horse called Osmos was gracefully trotting along the road, nicely fitting into a general traffic. The carriage moved, observing all traffic regulations. It stopped on traffic lights giving way to surprised pedestrians. Taxi drivers, despite their chronic haste, showed patience and tried not to overtake Osmos.
I asked Aseke how much would his carriage service cost and if it’s possible to order the carriage for a birthday or any other occasion. To which Aseke said that he was just having a test run.
Oats, nowadays, are an expensive item (compared to petrol). So, it is unlikely that this service will be inexpensive. But after all, I thought to myself, it is good that we have people in our city who bring a little bit of fairy tale into the monotony of our everyday life.