As a side note I should now point out that it’s the 11th of July and I’m finally able to upload some blogs with some pictures. I’m now in Aktobe less than 1000km from the Russian border. It’s been quite a journey across the steppe and I hope you enjoy these accounts of my time crossing it. Each day I try to make notes in my well and truly worn notebook but forgive me if, some two weeks after the events some of what took place is a little sketchy, sometimes the days really do blend into one another. It’s so hard to find Internet connection out here which has made updating the blog near impossible.
Here is the tale of Turkistan to Jangaqorghan.
The scenery has also become a little tedious, each day is characterized by an arid semi desert and if I’m being brutally honest it makes for quite dull riding.
Some camels for company
On the plus side though the road has improved a little, it seems there is a real scatter gun approach to fixing it with large sections nicely rolled out and smooth only to be followed by another stretch of uneven, loose stone, in short a peddlers nightmare.
One thing I’ve noticed about Kazakhstan is that everyone waves here. With the road being under construction there are obviously a large number of workers all of whom are eager to flag you down at every opportunity. The men here make a body gesture which coming from England might be construed as somewhat aggressive. Imagine taking your hand starting at your hip and waving it upwards past your head. I suppose in England we’d interpret it as meaning ‘what are you doing?’ It has the same meaning here but minus the aggression.
My backside and saddle are now firmly one
It is always followed by the expression “Aktuda” I know this isn’t the correct Russian spelling but roughly translated I believe means where are you from.
In response to waves from construction workers, truckers and people in towns and villages I’ve been working on my own repertoire of waves as opposed to just settling for one.
- There is the standard wave, one handed and usually employed when I’m feeling a bit tired.
- The salute.
- The fist pump.
- The horn, saved mostly for truckers who like in China insist on giving me an earsplitting blast on their air horn as they go by.
- The point.
- And finally a recent addition, the windmill where especially if I have a section of roads all to myself which runs parallel to the other roads I’ll swing one arm around in a windmill like movement, I suppose you could also call it ‘The Elvis’
As you can see I'm always looking for new ways to amuse myself out on the road!
Camp for the night