Kokshetay, Kazakhstan

Distance: 0 miles
Time on bikes: 0 hours

We’re really appreciating the rest we’re getting at the moment and while getting ready for the day we decide to stay another night. It would be great to be able to leave town having got all the website up to date and a few other things sorted out. Our immigration papers won’t be ready until at least 4 pm and it would be daft to leave town, only to need to find another hotel within a matter of hours.

We both get everything off the bikes to have a sort through what we don’t need and what can be sent home. This relieves a few kilos and includes the unused camera mount, maps and papers for previous countries and a few other bits and bobs. Carl ploughs on with the website and manages to get it just about up to date – a huge relief.

We then head out to try and post a package back to France using KazPost. We managed to buy a box yesterday but when we take it back to post the lady behind the counter isn’t very helpful. She just talks at us and we haven’t a clue what she wants us to do. We try to get her to write the instructions down, but this would clearly be too much effort and it seems she’d rather try to play with us and just talk away while it’s clear we don’t understand a word she says. We’re not too bothered, it just means they did themselves out of some cash for us using their service.

We return to the hotel and the very helpful girl on reception explains to us that to send a parcel we need to itemise every single thing in the box and allocate a value to each item. As we’re filling it with loads of little bits and pieces it really doesn’t seem worth the hassle so we decide to wait until we get to a DHL office.

Our next task is to go the Police Station to collect our little piece of paper with the stamp to confirm we’ve registered in the Country. We arrive prompt on 4 pm like we were told and a couple of the girls we met yesterday are again very helpful and tell us where to wait. We stand around for 30 minutes in the Police Station and wonder what could take so long to put a stamp on the paper. The woman who seems to be dealing with our stamp does not look like a happy person and we feel that she just likes to make us wait. She really put the Shet into Kokshetay.

We eventually get a curt call to come to the counter and without even looking at us she hands us the two pieces of paper with the stamps on – thank you very much.

Our next task is to try and sort out a payment to a bank account in China to pay a deposit to the guide that will be accompanying us. We’d heard by email that the others in the group have paid their deposit, but because we’ve been out of touch we’re a bit late. We both try our banks in the UK, but both say it’s not possible to transfer money overseas without coming into a bank and providing a signature. We find it a bit frustrating that we need pin codes, passwords, codenames and card readers to transfer cash using the internet, but to send cash overseas they just need a squiggle on a piece of paper.

We don’t really like asking for help, but this time we really needed it and gave our friend Roland a call back in Whitley Bay. He was a real star and was able to go down to the bank and arrange for the transfer and we are extremely grateful he was able to do this. Thanks Roland!

The rest of the day was spent on the beach next to the nearby lake where Bene caught up on some diary translation. In the evening we went to a different restaurant on the recommendation of Nathan, the Canadian we’d met in the hotel. They had a fantastic pizza with slices of potato on which was a new one, but superb.

One last thing to add; in answer to one question from a reader – Carl has so far used one razor blade since leaving the UK and has used it on average about 3 times a week. The intention is for this same blade to serve for the duration of the whole trip and make it back to the UK. We’re going to get all the stats up to date and will try to include a summary when we get to 100 days.

Jour 93 – Mardi 20 Juillet 2010

Kokshetau, Kazakhstan

Distance: 0 km – Temps a moto: 0 heures

Nous apprecions une grasse matinee, et comme nous devons retourner au bureau de police a 4 h nous decidons de rester une autre nuit. Ca serai super si nous arrivions a rattrapper notre retard sur le site avant de reprendre la route!

Nous faisons aussi le tri de nos affaires pour metre le plus possible dans la boite a poster. Il y a des cartes de pays ou nous sommes passes, d’autres paperasses, des piles que nous n’utiliserons pas et les haut parleur pour l’ipod a Carl et un cadre qu’il pensait utilise pour fixer sa camera a ses saccoches. Ca nous enleverai quelques kilos et nous donnerai un peu de place dans les saccoches.

Carl passé des heures sur internet et arrive a metre le site a jour, quell plaisir de ne plus etre tellement en retard….enfin, j’ai du retard sur les traductions, mais j’essayerai de rattrapper aussi avant de partir demain. Au bureau de police, ils nous font attendre une demi heure, puis ils nous donnent nos papiers d’immigration avec un tampon en plus dessu…c’est tout ce qu’il fallait, mais au moins c’est fait.

Nous passons ensuite a la poste avec notre petit paquet tout prêt, mais après avoir fait la queue un moment, la dame de la poste nousparle rapidement en Russe et nous ne comprenons rien…decus de ne pas avoir reussi a poster notre paquet nous le ramenons a l’hotel ou la receptionniste nous dit qu’il faut que nous fassions une liste des choses qui sont dans la boite en y mettant leur valeur…pfff… elle propose de nous traduire la liste, mais nous decidons de ne pas le faire, la liste serai compliquee et nous n’avons pas envie de gaspiller encore plus de temps, nous pouvons proter ces affaire, et jetter une partier des papersses sans valeur comme les cartes que nous n’utiliserons surement plus jamais et qui ne seront utile a personne que nous ne connaissons.

La chose suivante que nous devons faire est de payer 100$ au guide qui organise notre traverse de la Chine, les autres du groupe ont déjà paye, mais comme nous n’avions pas internet nous n’avons pas pu rester en contact avec eux. Nous mettons des sous sur notre carte SIM et appelons nos banques pour essyer de faire le virement, mais les payments internationnaux ne sont pas possible sans signature, il faudrait faire un courier et ca prendrai trop de temps. Nous decidons donc de demander une faveur a notre cher ami Roland, nous prefererions faire ca nous meme, mais ca parrait impossible.

Roland n’hesite pas un moment et va directement a sa banque pour faire le payment, ca nous aide vraiment, merci beaucoup Roland!

Nous passons un peu de temps au bord du lac qui est pres du centre ville ou je traduis une partied du journal, puis nous allons manger dans un petit restaurant sympa que Nathan nous a conseille. Nous y mangeons une delicieuse soupe de broccoli et creuvettes et une tres bonne pizza.