Its actually Kazakhstan we're in now
Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
109Trip End Dec 15, 2011
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Where I stayed
Merke (not so Grand) Hotel
Merke is the place we reached today.Its NE of Bishkek.On the whole a good day.After spending a night in Soviet-style hotel - I seem to recall that Intourist was the standard hotel throughout the USSR-Rog and I were a bit bleary after such a long andd frustrating day and then late drive to hotel,getting there after 10.We then lost an hour's sleep because of the time differntial between Kazak and Uzbek.I decided to give car a health check if only to allay some of my worse fears.All seems surprisingly well.Greased up and checked levels.Still bracing myself to change oil filter.Got on road about 12 ish and put in about 330K before reching what may be the best we can hope for in the future in terms of accommodation.Run down truckers' stop over.We are seriously thinking about camping tomorrow if we do not find anything suitable.
I think I mentioned in an earlier bulletin that this day was going to be an important one,and so it proved.We are on schedule and approximately in the place we hoped to be.The mileage in front is about the same but of course conditions wil be different.We dare to hope
Money supply - the right currency- and access to fuel are now big features in our thinking.Poor old Rog has to keep juggling between one currency and another,hugely different denominations and some bundles as big as you can hold which only just pay for a tank of fuel.Visa doesn't work in most places.Good job he's brought a decent accountant with him.
Dogs barking,cannot turn the radiator off (well you can but it floods the room if you do) and beds you could use as chopping blocks.What more could you want?
Well, he's said most of what I was going to tell you. So, I'll fill inn bits and you can place them where you like.
Breakfast this morning was interesting. Watery juice, fruit that looked as if it had been there for days, and if you dont eat it today, it'll be there for you tomorrow, and until you do. Fried eggs, could be the same thing. Took a risk and nicked a roll each, with some polony (suspect) and a slice of cheese (definitely guilty of being over age) each for lunch, with an egg as welll. Well, I hope the eggs are hard boiled and not ready for boiling?
Managed to get on the road at about 12ish having worked on the car. We should charge a fee for entertaining all the residents of the hotel, builders renovating the hotel, and passers by as well. We could have paid for the trip at £1 a time.
Scenery is much the same as the rest of the trip, but it does seem a lot greener here than previous countries. I guess we are in the area where the rain droips before the winds hit the Kyrg mountains that we avoided. Looking at the mountains, I'm glad we did avoid them, they are impressive.
Police are still a problem here, although not as much as in Uzbek. A couple have shown an interest, but a lot let us go by. Well, apart from the chap who pulled us over because Martin overtook in a no passing area. Told us off and then started taling about a "gift" Ah, a bribe? No, no money he stresses, and gives Martin a 100 Tenge coin, about 50p. What he wants is to exchange gifts, to show that we are friends. (all this with the aid of my Russian dictionary, as he speaks no English) So, we are now lighter by Martins little torch. Unfortunately we didnt bring a load of extra things to give away, apart from pencils, which I dont think he would be pleased with!
Oh, and apart from the guy who pulled us over because we didnt have out headlights on. It was mid afternoon, blazing sunlight, but it seems that no-one can see us. I wonder why they are all hooting and waving to us? However, we apologised, and there was no talk of gifts or anything. Most of them seem quite reasonable and pleasant, unlike the customs officials.
Bought a bottle of Fanta today. I opened it carefully in the car, and it sprayed all over everything. Now I'm sticky, the car is, the map got soaked so its falling apart and the satNav got sticky. Dont give up on us!!!
Well, no wifi here so you'll have to wait for this episode. There isnt much of anything in this hotel, except heat. Why have they got the central heating on when its 30 degrees? The guard's answer was to open the doors to the balcony! At least we have a balcony, overlooking the lorry park, where Stanley is already settled down for the night, so I will too.
Even the bathroom is short, it has a bath and a toilet, but no hand basin. Use the bath.