Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Spend Time

OK, this is bollocks cos I haven't been writing when I said i would! And now I leave on the train in the morning to Samarkand. I have spent something like 10 days in Tashkent sorting visas for Iran and Turkmenistan. I have finally got the Iran one on the go which will take yet another 5 working days to be processed. So after going to Samarkand and Bukhara(prolly) I will return to Tashkent to pick it up and then get the finishing touches on the Turkmen one before getting out of the country before my visa expires. I may not have the time to make it up to the Aral Sea but we'll see.

A few things since the previous post: After having my plugged face cleaned in Osh I took off to Bishkek to get cracking on visas which were bound to be a headache. After a day and a half on the road and over some freezing passes I crashed in a guesthouse in Bishkek.
Over the next week I filled for letters of invitation for Uzbekistan, Iran and applied for Kazakhstan visa. While waiting for these pointless pieces of paper I made for the country on my sturdy'ish stead.
Having spent a week in the hills touring Song Kol, Issy Kul, Ala kol and the mountains in Karakol I returned to the smoke via Barrana Tower. Back in Bishkek with a cold I was able to pick my visas up for Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan after a few days. Cub was running a bit rough so had to fix a broken shock, pull apart carburetor and do oil change among some other small things. After another day or so of rest it was time to hit up Kazakhstan.
At the border leaving Kyrgyzstan there was a huge cue of traffic not going anywhere. It was not the best idea going at 5 in the arvo. But no worries on the scoot as i just rode around all the cars and a barrier and gave a border control guy a light and got him to point me to passport control. A cue jump on the kazakh side and i was all clear after half hour! Rode off until night came down and I noticed my taillight was out so i slept by the road. I ended up getting a surprise visit by the military who had seen my light while i was reading. I guy in Camo with an assault rifle racing towards me in the dark wasn't what i was expecting but i showed my passport and it was all OK. Later i got picked up by some locals(they wouldnt have me sleeping outside) who took me back to there home where we ate and had rounds of cognac till 5am and some Afghani hash to put us to bed. Spent the next day with them, not sure if it was out of choice though, with a whole lot more vodka drinking!
Anyway, basics, spend 5 days in Kazakhstan meet great people and never had to stay in a hotel. I made it up to Turkistan to see an impressive mausoleum and on the way back down the cub broke down on the way to Otrar, a ruined city by Genghis Khan, so I had to turn back to nearest town and seek some help and then get a taxi, with my bike in the back, to Shymkent where I spent the night after unsuccessfully fixing the carburetor. After going to a different garage in the morning we managed to get it going well enough to get me to Tashkent(where there might actually be a bike shop) but when leaving town it seemed to come right. All really amazing people that helped me and they didn't want a penny (apart from taxi driver that wasn't helpful and charged a heap) for their efforts.
Before reaching Tashkent I spent a night in a border town just inside Uzbekistan where a nice shop owner put me up.
There are stories left out here but it is a quick rundown of the last while.

Until next time when I'm not such a lazy and tired bum.

Rhino Snot.