Saturday, May 26, 2012


Well up early back to the cafe for breakfast and we were on the road again.
The road conditions were very mixed brand new concrete express way with a 50 km/hr speed limit and crappy road with 100km/hr one. Crazy place. Cops pulled me over for speeding (I think) but sent me on my way once they realized I had no English.

The snow capped mountains were great, pity there was so much dust in the air, made getting a good clear photo hard.

Truck load of camel hides.
Just a quick digression on the express way, China, Kazakhstan and Russia are building a hwy that will run from western China to St Petersburg. Of this about 3800ks runs through Kazakhstan and they are spending about 7 billion dollar to build it. Highway to nowhere? Time will tell.

Yet another cyclist making their way through central Asia.
About halfway there was yet another police checkpoint, this time manned by plain clothes guys, maybe I should have kept going. Who knows, the guy was asking for money before I even started showing documents. I think in the end he wanted to see my licence. He took me to the copper in charge who did some chicken dance on floor of his office, while a bunch of other laughed at, he asked some stuffed I gave stock I don't know what you want answer, finally he yelled at me to go (I think) anyway another sour taste in my mouth. This time I was quite unsettled by the whole thing. I know it is part of traveling in this part of the world, but who says I need to like it and why do the locals need to put up with it.
The rest of the run into Shymkent was uneventful, but there is obviously less money here and really bad pollution. I didn't really feel at all safe so the hotel was a welcome sight. We had two days here and had planned to do some sight seeing, but I had enough of cops and dirty looks so we made the most of our cheap ($70/night) 5 star hotel. It was nice, the staff were nice and food western. I just needed a break from it all.
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This little horse was gift from Sveta when we went to dinner in Almaty.
Markets behind the hotel.
Well i starting to feel a little miserable. We had to go to Uzbekistan next and apparently the cops there were worse! Groan not looking forward to things. Almost considered going back to Russia!

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