A long day marred by a few things

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

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Where I stayed
Bakhyt Hotel

Flag of Kazakhstan  , Qaraghandy,
Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Had breakfast this morning, fried eggs, which we had  to pay  for but we never saw anyone else paying for theirs. Are we being taken advantage of because we cant argue? No idea.

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. Half an hour later it had moved forward by one, so we gave up. Got on the road.
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. Turns out the one guy (a Major in the police) speaks broken English. Long conversations, despite the fact that his party seem quite annoyed that he isnt sppending time with his friend's celebration. He asks us what we dislike about Kaz, aand we tell him, the police (That was before he told ud what he does!)

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!:

Mileage 598km

Martin's moment:

" Trist?

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.
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Barbara Goss on

Great to know that you ae still travelling forward!

Barbara Goss on

And I am most impressed by your typing - I cannot write one sentence without a typo!! Sorry...

Janet & Dave Parsons on

Looking good now. Hope the boat seems like a distant rosy memory! Dave says "Rather a long way to go for cheaper petrol!". Not helpful me (Jan) thinks. Hope the tomorrows to come allow you to stay on track (well the road actually).

Jem on

Glad you are now moving steadily forward, the scenery must be having trouble keeping you awake. We found the same in some parts of Morocco - mind numbing. You'll be amazed to know there was another MAN at yogalatis last night!! I'm sure a few days in Russia and you'll be fluent in the lingo. Keep driving.

Susan and Bill on

Some of us old girls remember "pinking" too!
Colder here, even put heating on. A few drops of rain but not enough for the garden. Bill tells me Biddenham had a downpour yesterday. He is busy planting some spring colour in the beds.(Outside not inside!)

Sara on

crikey, my mum's blogging!! and i remember when i had to show her how to get the printer working
about 2 weeks ago!!
kids all good, they just look at the blog photos, isaac wants to know why there are so many roads- not sure there's a toddler version of the explanation so just telling him you're having an adventure on the roads. he'd like more camels now please if you could provide that.
went into town, depressing enough, to get their photos taken for their first passports, absolutely no smiles on offer by either child, Isaac was very pleased that he's cycled all the way there and back from butterfly bridge into town.
very pleased that the blog quality stanndards are being maintained despite all adversity and wifi charges. do we still get a slide show when you return?
oh, and Martin- any memories of Daniel's early bike riding prowess- he's keen on moving isaac onto pedals. any thoughts??

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