Cracking the bureaucracy
Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
109Trip End Dec 15, 2011
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Where I stayed
Altyn Adam/Golden Man
Packed everything up in preparation for going to get our registration sorted. As we were leaving, I was approached by a young lady, Helena, who was a journalist - someone had told her about us and she wanted an interview. Spent the next ten minutes with her following us around asking all sorts of questions. Quite interesting her tenacity, as we were trying to get ready, she switched between us quite easily, and her English was good. Snapped loads of photos as we were sorting things and then driving away. She promised to contact us through the blog to let us know how the article went.
Helena, dont forget
Made our way to the Registration Point as advised by the manager at the Cosmonaut Hotel yesterday. Just as he said. Went in and managed to see a guy who spoke very little English, but he twigged onto what we wanted. Indicated for us to sit down and wait. While we waited, we noticed a couple across the room, and made eye contact. She came over and started talking, they are Elain and Warren, from the States (although she is originally from South Africa!!!) and are applying for permanent residence in Kazakhstan to undertake missionary and humanitary work.
Eventually he came back and told us that the documnets would be available the next da
y, then when we said no, after 6 o'clock. We explained that we had to get to Semey before our Russina visas expired, and he went off again. Eventually (after about 1/2 an hour) he returned with the papers all sorted! Amazing what can be achieved, isnt it. The difference is, he was in civvies, not uniform, so he is there to help. Uniforms are there to obstruct and delay.
Did the traveling stuff, initially the roads were rough, but after a while they turned quite good. DTopped at a cafe for lunch, they spoke not a word we could understand and vice versa. Eventually had a meal of salad, manatey (meat in a pasta parcel, bread and tea. Lot more expensive than yesterday, though. Got into Pavlodar, found a hotel as recommended by Bradt Guides, settled in. Went to tthe Old Englishman Pub for dinner. They spoke no English, so we complained, but they didnt understand. Had a decent meal though, soup, mushrooms and rice, beer and coffee
They had hookah pipes available - so not English either.
And so another day draws to a close.
Martin's moment (with the missionaries):
You can tell by the eyes.That look of serenity and completeness- the acceptance that you can do no better with your life than carry out God's work.To give over their lives and move to Karaganda and help those less fortunate than themselves is a bit humbling whatever your beliefs.But they haven't got Him all to themselves,there's been a bit left spare looking over your intrepid travellers.
Life at the moment is drive,eat,sleep and drive again.I'm concerned that the most concentrated period of driving is ahead of us and we need to schedule some downtime-not just keep driving because that's the best thing.
Anyway I forgot to mention that it was a strange coincidence that we found ourselves in cosmonaut mood at the same time that the world was celebrating the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first flight.Bit worrying though that I can remember it.I think he came to a sticky end.
The Russians had cosmonauts,the Americans astronauts.Lovely.and Jason? He had argonauts.
Radio contact might be a bit skimpy in next few days and certainly when we pass into Russia for first time.
Only stopped once by police today - feeling a bit neglected.Mind you there are none out here.
We apparently missed snow lying in the streets by a week -life would have been very hard for us had we been much earlier.As it is we have had several days of 30 degrees and there are still substantial ice floes (?) in the rivers and lakes.We at first thought it was salt.
Due to get into Russia Saturday -bang on target.
Mileage 456 km