Sunday 5 August 2012

Kazakhstan first impressions


Since our last post we have been convoying with the two team we met in Astrrakan. Teaming up has exponentially increased faff levels, however japery and banter is also on the up.

We crossed fairly quickly into Kazakhstan, the road surface immediately decreased, to about 50% pothole. Ant did an excellent job of weaving through the good bits of road. Just 10 minutes after entering the country the convoy got stopped by the police apparently it was illegal for us to be driving without headlights on (in the glaring sunshine). While the drivers were taken off to pay a $10 fine, the only policeman that spoke any English stayed behind with the passengers to chat. The whole exchange was quite friendly and we were soon back on the road.

As evening fell we turned off the main road on to dirt track into the nearest village after some confused pointing with the local we were directed to the water. We made camp by the edge of the Caspian Sea about an hour before sunset. I tried to go for a swim, however after walking about 100m into the sea it was still only up to my knees and I settled for paddling instead. The Kazak people are some of the friendliest people we have come across, as we set camp some families wandered over to say hello, take our picture, and make conversation in broken English. After watching the sun set behind the Caspian all went to bed.

The morning greeted us with slightly improved road surfaces as we are currently in oil country. After a game of French cricket we continued making our way around the Caspian. The Kazak steppe is both flat and barren, we pitched our camp in a windy spot leading to some dust in our dinner.

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