A long day marred by a few things
Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
109Trip End Dec 15, 2011
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Where I stayed
Next to the hotel was an old Aeroflot plane and a tank. They have these relics dotted around all over the counttry.
Went into town to draw some money, the problem is that ATM's are not always available, cars cant be used to make payments, and so you have to carry enough money, but not so much as to be left with it when you leave.
Also tried to register - you ahve to register with the OVIR by the 5th day of your stay - which we will need to do. Eventually guessed which was a police station, and the OVIR was next to them.However, because we got stuck talking to the police, we got there 10 minutes after it opened,and there wwas already a queue
The police had advised us which route to take, and the first part of it, the road was all potholed and rough. Welll, some was good, but then without warning, it went bad for a few miles, then back again. Pushed on, but when we got to the Almayti/Balqash road it was good, and we could motor comfortably.
Balqash lake is interesting, parts are a lovely blue, parts look dead. Apparently its dying the same death as the Aral Sea. Also, the western end (where there is no outflow) is salt, and the eastern end, where the rivers flow in, is non fresh water.
Got to Balqash, found the recommended (by Brandt) hotel, they were full. No response from the staff except Nyett! Nyett!
Found another hotel, looks OK. Managed to book in, charged quite a bit. Then when we come to pay, they add on for use of wifi, for parking. Annoying.
Had dinner, but while we were waiting for the food to come, there arrives a group of about 8 to celebrate one of their birthdays
Go towards room, and reception calls us over and tells us to part the car in a lock up theyy have. Very nice of them. Then as we come back into hotel, she demands another 300 Tenge! (about £1.50) Not a lot, but it seems there is always more that they want, and more. I got sross and told her that there would be NO MORE, but no idea whether she understood. Who cares!:
Sorry no understand - Anglais,Britannia
Sorry mate got to get on ,miles to be done
Trist- you Kazakhstan?
Oh - tourist? Yes thats us
(Show list of countries on car door,perhaps map and pass on)
So what are the roads in ?? like we ask .And of course we get a response.The truth is that nobody has a clue.Very few people we come across,if any,have any reason to travel more than 10 miles from where they live so their opinion of road conditions beyond that,not to mention in another country is based on hand-me-down information or a natural pride that their country's road system is better than the next one's.So the country we are going to always has worse roads than the one we are in and the one we are in has excellent roads even 1000 miles away.
You can be steaming along at 55 ish and the road conditins just fall away.Literally
So we are in yet another seaside town they forgot to close down and the view from our hotel room is of a 2-3 acre wooded esplanade by the shore.The sea is a salt deposit,all the trees are dead and the place deserted.Even Lonely Planet guide says there is a firm base of broken vodka bottles..
Time for an insertion:
"Young Man" said Bul Bul "is existence so dull
That you're anxious to end your career?
So we're on schedule havimg put in a few miles and now need to pace our entry to Russia in order to maximise length of visa there but also need some downtime.Reduced Octane rating of fuel yesterday from 95 to 93 and seemed fine.Will probably reduce even further as we go on and just hope we can run without the dreaded "pinking".You boys know what we are talking about here.