11.07.2012 - 13.07.2012
At the time of writing this it is now my third day in Aktobe. My plan to arrive here early on Wednesday morning worked out perfectly and I was able le to locate the hotel that Mirko had told me about without any difficulty.
There was a little disagreement to where my LPY (bike) could spend the night and I had to pay an extra 200T for ‘parking’ I assumed this meant I could take it to the room with me. It turned out that it meant I could lock it in the hotel car park. When I proceeded to climb the four flights of stairs with the bike one of the security guards chased me upstairs and insisted that the bike couldn’t go with me.
A broken English/Russian conversation followed in which I calmly presented the facts and told them that where I go the bike goes. Not being able to speak the language certainly has its advantages and I think after a couple of minutes of talking they just gave up trying to persuade me otherwise.
One of the things I’d heard about Aktobe was that it had a very large modern shopping center which apparently also boasts all number of ‘fast food’ restaurants. This was my plan for the day: locate hotel – tick, get online – tick, eat some pizza – tick!
It was strange to eat pizza again, I think the last time was back in Almaty and I have to say it’s one of the foods that I miss the most. In addition to stuffing my face with a well earned pizza I also did a bit of shopping in the huge super market.
Aktobe's MEGA centre.
It was here that I picked up a certain carton of milk. I haven’t really had that much milk since I left but I just fancied a nice cup of it and it’s also a good source of nourishment. I spent the afternoon lazing in my hotel room and watching a movie and……also drinking the milk.
This was my big mistake. The milk smelt and tasted fine but just before I went to bed I started to get those ever so familiar rumblings in the stomach. What followed was a painful and extremely restless nights sleep as the ‘bad’ milk began to permeate the inside of my stomach. It might not have been the milk, who knows? But I spent the whole of the next day Thursday feeling really under the weather and devoid of all energy. I had set aside this day for doing a spot of sightseeing and checking out what Aktobe has to offer but for the second time on my trip I was reduced spending almost the entire day sleeping in my bed, sick.
It was just a minor set back and I woke up this morning fully alleviated of my 24 hour sickness and thankfully with my appetite well and truly restored.
I’ve been meaning to use the website couch surfing a lot more but due to the lack of Internet connectivity I’ve experienced along the way it’s been hard to spend the time to look for people with couches to spare.
I did however manage to meet up with a young local guy today, Yaroslav a journalist here in Aktobe who gave me a very quick tour of the city during his lunch break.
Coming from China where even the smallest of cities houses more than one million people it’s strange to be in a country such as Kazakhstan where most cities outside of the main two Astana and Almaty don’t even register half a million.
Aktobe seems to be a city on the up judging by the numerous new buildings which are springing up all over the place. Yaroslav dropped me off in the centre of the city and I took a walk back taking in most of the main sites along the way.
Aktobe is home to two very impressive places of worship the Muslim mosque and the Orthodox church built in deliberate close proximity to each other and separated by a park. Apparently the president Mr. Nazarbayev visits every year and the last time he came he was accompanied by the former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev for the opening of said places of worship.
I also took in a quick look at the football stadium in keeping with my obsession over stadia and was actually fortunate enough to sneak in via a side gate to get the following snaps.
Due to the extreme heat here in Aktobe my tour of the city was relatively short and I headed back to the hotel which is where I am now. I’m trying to make the most of my Internet time as I prepare not only for my final days riding here in Kazakhstan but also my entry into Russia.
So I believe I’m up to date with blogs for now. The next ones probably won’t be up for a week or so, you know the blogs are like buses you wait for one for ages and………..
I’m pleased to see that so many people are enjoying reading them it makes it so much easier for me to write them when I know people are interested. I apologize for any grammatical mistakes or typos you may find in them. I’m often slightly rushed when writing them and by the time I’ve completed one I usually just give it a quick once over proof read and be done with it
I hope that they do act as some kind of inspiration for people perhaps not to jump on their bikes and ride to China but at least pull it out from their shed and take it for an afternoon out. Remember a bike is not just for Christmas but for life.
Well until next time, God bless you all and speak to you next time.