Mayan Prophecy Countdown
So I slept in as I did not have to book out until midday and managed to get some blog work done. I was also trying to sort out info down south, my preferred direction. I was in no hurry, so around midday I was picked up by Anastasia, Gennardi’s daughter who spoke excellent English, she lives and studies in London. I then followed a little red convertible beemer around town until we came to what looked like a fortress, but was in fact a reasonably new hotel and café/nightclub complex, this could be different :) We booked me in and after getting changed went to the café where the wifi was, as it was not available in the room, but I should be able to work here.
After I wolfed down some chicken wings and chips, Anastasia took me around town for a look, not a great deal here really, a church, a mosque, a few parks. There was a lot of new construction going on, but this was the capital of this state and the president was coming for a visit, I think it was his home town, but he has a large mansion here.
After that 15 minute look we headed to her dads office, where between them and another chap, one of the bikers, we chatted about my options.
There did not seem to be many at all. There are only two ways to Almaty, go south through some pretty terrible roads, with fuel, water and accommodation limited, or go the northern route, the boring route, but it is more well travelled and more opportunities with services. I would not make a decision just yet, but would think on it. There were a few people I could ask other advice from as well. Just for the record, Gennardi is the one person in town that knows the bike people and is mentioned in Lonely Planet, of which I do not have a copy :) But, if some biker turns up in town needing help, they will end up here! He offered space to work on the bike, but that was not needed at this time, although I knew of two issues which may be a drama further down the track – the broken weld on the bash plate and the tool tubes straps may end up breaking. As it was I would probably opt for buying a fuel container in case I took the southern route and later that afternoon Anastasia took me to a few shops to find one, but they were not the type I needed, I wanted a tough petrol container, in case I crash I don’t want fuel everywhere over a hot bike.
One of the main topics that afternoon was not my trip, but Neil who had lost his topbox and his bike paperwork. Having nor heard from them for a day or so, the last info was Nacho and Neil would be heading into Kyrgyzstan, Gennardi assures me this would be madness as that area from Altryau is all desert south, but all I can infer from the email was that was the plan, I hope they are OK!! We also discussed further options about maybe flying the bikes over to Beijing and riding on from there, but without contact with the other members of the group, this was becoming hard to work out.
Two of the group, Robin and Keely have not been in contact since 12th July and may be stuck in Tajikistan somewhere, where there is a war going on! But, I have read about a ceasefire and borders opening so maybe we will hear something soon.
There was an issue with another member, Lorraine, she was up in Siberia, totally outstayed her Russian visa and could be in trouble when she reaches a border crossing, we hope to hear from her soon, one way or the other.
Anyway, after an afternoon of trying to solve problems, it seemed to be time to relax, thanks Gennardi and Anastasia for helping and for your time :) I was dropped back to the hotel complex where I soon found the roof garden and decided the hot desert air needed lubricating :) I had a few beers, found a real nice meat and rice dish to suit my food needs(the menu had pictures, I love em) and watched the sun going down.
Cheers from Aktobe