Distance: 4 miles
Time on bikes: 0.5 hours
Our day starts with breakfast in the hotel which was very nice and then the job of getting on the internet to check bank accounts, emails and update the website. We also take the opportunity to check visa arrangements for Nepal, Thailand and Cambodia which we’ll be visiting later in the year. If anyone has any advice on these it would be greatly appreciated.
It looks like Nepal and Cambodia issue visas on arrival at land borders and Thailand grants 30 days of access to tourists. That should do us, but one question we have is whether for Thailand we get another 30 days after coming back in from our visit to Cambodia. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated as we’ve recently found it difficult to get internet access to find these thing out.
For some reason, working on a laptop seems to consume vast amounts of time and before we know it, 9.30 am has turned into 2.30 pm. We head out to try and sort our registration with the Police as this is a strict requirement apparently. It’s only a few minutes walk and when there we’re given some great assistance by the people inside. We need to get something stamped by the hotel and drop the papers back with the Police to collect tomorrow. We’ve no idea what the papers say, but we’ll just have to go with the flow.
We then try speaking to the local KazPost to see if we can send a package of things we’re not using back to Bene’s parents in France. The less weight on the bikes the better. This seems to go ok and we purchase a KazPost box to put things in to drop back tomorrow. Again, we’ll find out if it works tomorrow.
We then try and tackle the repair to Bene’s bike frame to secure the pannier rack. We’ll need to either get a piece of metal bolted on to act as a new anchor point or find a garage that can do some nifty welding. We expose what needs to be fixed by removing the fairing panel and try gesturing to the hotel car park attendant and he soon understands what we need. He tries giving us directions, but soon gives in and offers to lead us there in his car.
We’re soon kitted up and both hop on Bene’s bike to follow the guy. He cuts through the traffic and flies along through the streets of the town. We try to keep up without fracturing too many laws and take advantage of the bikes ability to cut through the cars at traffic lights. It’s a joy to ride the bike without panniers and it feels more like a lightweight dirtbike without all the luggage attached.
We’re soon at a garage and a mechanic gestures for us to bring the bike inside to where he has welding kit, in between two cars he’s currently working on. He’s soon got one crocodile clip attached and is just about to spark up the welder when we try to gesture that we’d like to get the seat off and also disconnect the battery earth to prevent frying any of the electrics. He’s happy to oblige us and then sets to work to weld the broken piece of bike frame back on. This could have gone one of two ways and we were so pleased to see that the guy was a real star with his welding kit.
The broken frame was soon attached with a big blob of weld metal underneath – that should help keep it in place. He then tidies it all up with the angle grinder and we’re able to securely attach the pannier frame back to the bike. We’re in business again and express a huge thanks to the guy and give him some cash to buy a few beers. He was so quick that Bene is still in her full bike kit, and we’re soon back on the bike to retrace our route back to the hotel.
We spend an hour or so on the main pedestrian boulevard in front of the hotel and catch up on the diary which has managed to slip back a bit recently. We watch the sun go down and the temperature is much cooler than we were expecting for this part of the world. The girls wear a similar level of attire to lasses from Newcastle, so they must be quite hardy.
We spend the rest of the evening in the main local bar which we found last night. We join a group from Canada and Sweden who are in the country advising on agriculture efficiencies and implementing new systems for the Kazakhs to make more money from the vast areas of land they have. All very nice guys.