Thanks for the send-off Kazakhstan

Trip Start Jan 01, 2010
Trip End Dec 31, 2010

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Slept in car on little road near train station

Flag of Kazakhstan  , Mangghystau,
Thursday, August 12, 2010

Today we finally go another early start.  The roads have been horrible though the further we go through Kazakhstan.  At one point, we let the Facerace guys lead so that we could watch them swerve for the unexpected potholes and give ourselves more advance warning.  When we finally made it into Atyrau, we had to stop off first to change money (there wasn't a good place at the border to do it) before heading to find lunch.  Lunch proved to be much more elusive than it should have been.  Finally we stopped at what we thought would be an Asian restaurant...and it was, but the prices were more expensive than we would have paid in the USA.  On a good note though, we met another Mongol Rally team in another Suzuki Swift in the parking lot, and they know of an Irish Pub to go get food and beers at.  So we set off with 3 Suzuki Swifts and 1 Citroen Saxo.  The Irish Pub we ended up at was called O' Neals, and was way too expensive for what it was.  It was $5USD for a small stuffed potato.   But we were so hungry that we stayed there and ate anyways.

We did finally break away from the convoy after lunch, as we were heading down to Uzbekistan, and everyone else was traversing Kazakhstan.  The road from Atyrau has no signs, but is a brand new road, so it is immaculate all the way to Beinyu.  But from Beinyu to the border, it was a jagged mix of concrete slabs that looked like they had been dropped from the sky with broken concrete, rebar, and then washboard dirt in between.  What should have been a 45minute drive to the border from Akzhigit took almost 4 hrs.  It was almost like Kazakhstan knows this is the only border into Uzbekistan from this region, and intentionally keeps the road completely trashed.

I finally turned in and gave up at a small town past Akzhigit on the road to the train station.  It was almost 2am and I was completely beat.  Mike had been sick earlier in the night and both Mike and Lauren were fast asleep at that point.  That night was not a the best night of the rally to say the least...
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