Friday, May 25, 2012


So we had 3 nights in Almaty and a pile of things to do.
1) Get the bike serviced. The back tire was showing steel in places.
2) Go the Mongolian Embassy and organize our visas to visit there.
3) Finalize our accommodation in Uzbekistan.
The first night had been taken with our late arrival the previous evening, by the time we rolled into our hotel we were both very tired, we had covered 3000 ks in 4 days and on both some great and not so great roads. The thing we discovered from Kazakhstan was the roads were either great or really bad, there was no in between.
Day 1
After a nice sleep in Anton took me around to collect my new tire and then on to the service guy. This took most of the day so I sat around and talked bikes and Kazakhstan with those who could speak English, had a chuckle with the mechanic when dumped oil all over the floor of the garage (an accident I have had happen to me on occasion) this took the best part of the day and it was well after dark before we got back to the hotel.
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Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugPhoto & Video Sharing by SmugMugIn the meantime Sharon had a number of tasks to accomplish, get some passport photos and a SIM card Anton had written out what she needed in Russian and just pointed her in the right direction. Once she had got this done she noticed a hairdresser and with a little help from someone else she booked an appointment. So a big day of getting things done for the both of us. Very much appreciated the help from Anton, I have begun to find that the help from strangers or as I prefer new friends is invaluable. Especially when you are rookie, we have constantly found that there are people willing to go out of there way to assist you on journey.

One quite well used back tyre.
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One happy mechanic. Did a hard days work for about $350 including oil.
Day 2
After our big day previously today was to be a little more simple, or so we thought.
First destination the Mongolian Embassy on the other side of town, navigation through Almaty on a bike is not all that easy as there are a large number of streets that Motorbikes are not allowed down. With that in mind we slowly threaded are way around the streets, but still managed to find ourselves on street with No Entry for bikes. Mmm better get of this street before cops see us, but it was too late and we found ourselves on the wrong end of law yet again. First cop puts me through the wringer in terms on documents etc before I have to go in sit in the car with the next cop. Ah bribe time so for about 5 minutes we sat in the car while we had the roundabout of money with me shaking my head saying I don't understand. Despite refusing to pay and not getting a fine it always leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I think I would rather just have the fine and be done with it.
So we were free to go again and this time made our way down a number of small alleyways to get where we need to be, worst of all the street we needed to take ran of the street we weren't allowed on. Eventually after a bit of cross country we managed to get where we needed to be. Forms filled in, money handed over, we would be able to collect our Visas the following day.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug After this another run of the gauntlet and we were off to Stantours to finalize our accommodation in Uzbekistan and paid them the balance of the money we owed them. David Berghof the owner is a German who speaks excellent English and I highly recommend them.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug That night Anton took us and his girlfriend up into the mountains to this little restaurant for a great meal off special breads, soups and of course shaslick. It was a great night out and we will be left with yet another set of great people that we may never meet again. As I didn't have anything better to do with the 17" tire I had carted for nearly 4000ks, I gave it to Anton for his efforts, I thought it was the least I could do.
One of Sharon's favourite bus stops Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugAlmaty Petrol Station Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugLongest name on a building I've ever seen Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Anton and Sveta
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Our very nice meal, partly completed.
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Good bye to Anton. Thanks for everything.
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We had to collect our passports from the Mongolian embassy and make our way to Shymkent for our crossing into Uzbekistan. Getting to the Embassy meant another run of the gauntlet against the no entry signs, fortunately this time we only needed a couple of hundred meters. Passports collected it was off to Shymkent. Given how late we left we decided to make our way to Shu the first night. We found a clean little hotel off the highway and it ours for the night. A lady ran a nice little cafe in house next door and gave a great meal that filled us up very well. She came and sat with us and with a little google translate, a pen and paper we had nice conversation about our trip our ages and the kids.
Hotel in Shu Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
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