June 27, 2013 GMT
Almaty or (and) bust (again).

It took us 3 days to get out of Semey, One day was for my recovery and the 3rd to register our visas. They have a strange system in some places like Kazakhstan . yes you have a visa to get in. but then you have to visit the migration police in 5 days to register. Day 1 is the day you enter. that was Saturday, and they only open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. But not if Monday is after a weekend holiday.

All forms need filling in Russian. We paid a taxi driver to help ease us through the system. This involved retuning to the hotel to get an hotel stamp on the forms before the policeman would continue the process. At one point we had a total stranger filling our forms in for us.

Fun and games over, we wound our way out of the city. Missed the advised detour (200kms) that would avoid the road works on the main Almaty road and put the bikes back to the test again.


If a Lada Samara can do the 50-60kms of mud, gravel, pot holes, humps and sand. So could we.

We were now in the boonies. No where to stay, except pull off the side of the road and camp.


It took us a couple of days, but then as we approached Almaty the Himalayas appeared in the distance. Their white peaks sandwiched between the clouds and the smog.

Then, as if this is to be a new ritual upon entry to a city, just as we parked the bikes by the central station to look for an hotel, mine lived up to its name once more. The 'bastard' died.

I've researched these too well, once I had ascertained the fuses and battery were all OK it was straight to the ignition wires. A slight push and a connection was made, and then lost.

Outside our chosen hotel we peeled away the layers to get at the culprit.


That green wire should be attached.

All we needed now was a soldering iron. Something neither of us had packed. Or maybe a mechanic.

Here is one, Daniel, who just happened to be passing on his bike, with a soldering iron. I think he was soldering mike to my ignition at this point.


I noticed a bulge at his hip.


Yes, an armed mechanic.

The manager at the hotel was also very helpful, being a biker he loved what we were doing and offered us a discount, but we had already paid. So he insisted on giving us 6 litres of water and a large bag of fruit for the road. Then in the evening a complimentary supper. This turned out to be steak and chips. Nice chaps these Kazaks. And not a man-kini in sight.

We even had time to wander around the city. Soviet and Arabic styles, clashing and mingling in wide tree lined streets


Posted by Bruce Porter at June 27, 2013 04:54 PM GMT

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