Its actually Kazakhstan we're in now

Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
Merke (not so Grand) Hotel

Flag of Kazakhstan  , Zhambyl,
Monday, April 11, 2011

Martin's Merke moment:
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.

Mileage 340km
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Polly on

I thought the complimentary roll and meats for lunch was part of any hotel deal? Glad today was better. Do you have any of that honey cereal to give away or maybe the collapsable bucket?

Tim on

Good work Rog on the Fanta...reminds me when I took Tara (then the new GF) to a party to meet friends and she attempted to open a bottle of Champagne, which promptly started gushing. Cue Tara putting her hand over to try and stop, and, well you can imagine.... looked like one of those many fountains you keep seeing! Walls were dripping, as were friends....Hi everyone, this is Tara, my Ex GF.... These things always occur in confined spaces....keep up the good work.

Emily on

You're lucky the mini torch isn't as old as the grey-green jacket otherwise all hell would break loose...oh dear did I just mention the jacket again?
Josh should have come with you, you know how much he likes barking dogs...cue Josh's maiden voyage into the blog...
Come on, we're all waiting for you.

daniel on

how old was the mini torch?

Alison on

Whats wrong with the pencils ? They have even got rubbers on the end!Come in from the cold Josh we need your imput here, your brother has managed the odd word occasionally.Don`t part with the tilly !

Jemma on

I think I must have missed the section about the collapsable bucket!!!!

Polly and I are experts at making lunch out of breakfast things. Definitely part of the deal.
Oh on the tea front, try it Vietnamese style, black with sugar and a squeeze of lime!!!!

Glad everything seems to be up and running well.
Lucky last Josh.

Alison on

Back to the torch saga - was it the black one or the silver? Black alot older and what is Isaac going to dismantle now when he comes round? probably the light fittings! We`re still waiting Josh,

david on

Morning chaps from the sunny harbour of Falmouth (Cal, me and the nippers are enjoying a short Easter holiday with their grandpa) glad to see all is well in sunny Merke.
re: things to give away in event of further bribery.
There's always the fanbelt and all the other spares...(must be a small box by now!) with a bit of silky talk you could convince any moustachioed hat that they will be worth a few bob when the car becomes famous and the book has been published and you have signed off film rights. knock up a authenticity receipt Roger, sign and date...and just let them take their pick from the box! or....
if these sum's or whatever they are called come out of the cash machine in the bucket load. Try the old money roll trick. roll up said wad of the cheapy notes and stick one expensive one on the outside....then elastic band..take out of pocket with other spare change....

Anyway, going off to see the 'Mathew' today...Tudor galeon ship (or as James sees it, its a pirate ship daddy..) The way things have been going recently stanley should be on the water. You boys are positively, take care and remember to keep an eye on that ruddy bludder!

Josh ( official topper upperer of the mobile) on

I have actually been waiting with baited breath for some photos of the dog kennel of a cabin during the Caspian Sea crossing but to no avail. I have also been commenting on sporadic photos throughout the trip (mostly of Martin eating).
First and foremost well done both for your amazing efforts so far. The photos and writing are first class and always make for entertaining reading (although if you end of missing a few days and then trying to catch up you end up more confused than when you start). I'm very glad the constant anger of the first weeks posts seems to have subsided and we are getting a more relaxed view of proceedings.
There are lots of people at work following your travels although the consensus is that Roger is my father based on people trying to guess (plus people don't realise that you both have beards!).
Have I missed the haircutting photos Dad or is that event still to come? Also I haven' seen any usage of the high vis jackets (waistcoats?) yet?
Keep up the good work!
Tutus trinus.

Emily on

We always knew you were the writer of the family, Josh

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