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January 03, 2007 GMT
may

So, since out\r last post we have managed to get into and out of Russia pretty much unscathed. Apart from the four and a half hours it took us to get in all went well, and to top it off the cafe next to the border crossing was closed when we were in so we couldn't even get a coffee.

All the stereotypes you have of Russians are true, they are nice people but can be a little loud at times. They struggle to make ends meet and they love to drink vodka.

Here's us in a mechanics house who moved from Germany to live in Russia with the local narcotics ploice head and a local pc who left his post on the outskirts of town to join us.

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We think it was all planned as the narcotics head had met us in a petrol station about 200km back and we asked him for directions. They said we were the first English people to go to there town. Maybe, maybe not but they were very pleased to meet us none the less, and very accomodating.

We went to Volgagrad on our way through Russia were we stopped to do the tourist thing at the local statue (Mother Russia) which was erected to commemorate the thousands who died in WWII fending off the Nazi's. Its a very impressive statue it has to be said and can be seen from miles away.

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So onward from Volgagrad and towards the Kazak border. It has to be said though that Russia is a massive country with not much in it. We travelled for distances of 300km without seeing more than a petrol station some farms and cows. But the weather was good and we couldn't complain. Though it has to be said the public conveniances leave a little to be desired.

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This was among the worst but we had to let you lot at home know what hardships we encounter when busting for the loo.

So into Kazakhstan we came, John finally got his hands on something with a little bit more kick than he is used to. Perhaps he should have kept it for Gail im sure she would appreciate the extra lenth!!!!!!!

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This was in no mans land between the two crossings. The Russians were finally glad to see the back of us. But the Kazaks new we were coming but it was no problem at the entry. We were done and dusted quite quickly besides one of the button pushers best attempts to keep us there till Christmas.

A new country and new roads. this has been one of the worst we have encounterd so far, and this by all accounts is a good road.

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Some of the smaller roads are mud and i can only imagin what they like in the winter when the temperature drops to -40 odd which it did this winter. But they are quite good fun when they are dry, though the ruts can be a little hairy at times.

on our second day in Kazakhstan Allen needed a new tyre, so we went round a town trying to find one that would fit. As always we attract quite a bit of attention and we met up with baha, Sabr, Aliya, Sayle and Asel who led us around thir town trying to find a tyre. After about 5 tyre shops, 2 bicycle shops and a market we eventually found one that was 21". So Al went off to get it fitted while John and I had somehting to meet back at their house.
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Here we all are after a some food and some tea in their living room. Very nice people and thank you for all your help.

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Kazakhstan is also a big country with not much in it. We often encounter things on the road which perhaps should be elsewhere, here are some things we have seen while we have been out there.

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John made this into some handy bungees.

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They asked me to swap, but the thing was a death trap and i wanted to get home in one piece.

Allens gone off to get his bike fixed again so i dont have any grid references but shall put them up next time.

Shall post again soon when we get a chance.

Posted by Colin Patrick at January 03, 2007 05:31 PM GMT

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