Mayan Prophecy Countdown
Hi all, due to internet restrictions here in Kazakhstan, it has taken me all day to nut out a solution. Thus the planned catch up won’t happen for a while. Instead, I will give a brief overview, then back to normal from now on, I hope, internet connection permitting.
So, time to ride after a week in Moscow, the feet were burning, thanks girls for looking after me
I had done my homework, once the passport was in my hands and I had 5 days to get to the border, this meant some easy riding days, no stress and I had places to stay already booked. The first destination was a small town called Suzdal, only a few hundred KMs east and one of the Golden Circle towns. I had a small guest house booked which I found quite easily, then wandered around the village taking snaps of the nice buildings before finding food and beer at a recommended cafe place.
The place I stayed at was quite nice and I had a very good breakfast the next morning. On the road again, and heading to Nizhny Novgorad, about 250km and lots of road works. This is where I met some fellow riders who helped me out at the fuel stop, I wanted to fill up my tank, but it was hard for me to guess how much I needed(pre pay before fill), so in the end I had to take what I guessed was correct(they swiped my credit card), but I then had to go back and hand over cash for the next few liters. This chap and his missus explained it is easier to overpay, then get a refund in cash, so cheers m8
After a number of hours and many roadworks I got into town and managed to find the hotel. It was not easy, some of these areas were quite a jungle of streets, and as it turned out, this hotel was right in the middle of an apartment complex. But, find it I did just as the rain started
Here I ran into a snag. The lady at the desk asked for my registration paperwork, I gave her what I had, but apparently when I book into a hotel, they or I am supposed to fill out a rego paper, so they know where I am, then that is handed in to the next hotel and so forth. Well, I have been here a few weeks and NEVER been given one, so this lady was being tough! Well, not that tough, she allowed me to go to the room and freshen up, which is when I found out the wifi signal was weak, so she changed the room for me to downstairs. Nice outcome, what a shame I had not dragged all my gear up 5 flights of stairs before bringing it all down again LOL. It was very hot so I got settled in and started to chase up some more info on the China Syndrome. Food and beer in the downstairs cafe was one of the best I have had for a while. With the desk lady as interpreter, I managed to get a pork chop, chips and buttered corn, brilliant I did manage to get registered into the hotel later on as well, crazy system!
After that it was back to China study and set up next days trip. The next planned stop was in Kazan, this was 390km away, but even with crap traffic, I could still do it in 6 hours I thought. And crap traffic was what I got, this is the Federal Highway and is the main trunk line east to west. There was lots of this stuff, but I still sneak to the front of the queue
I fueled up a bit later and met up with a large group of new vehicles, firetrucks and buses, as it turns out all heading to Kazakhstan as well, well, I reckon they might be buggered by the time they get there with the crap roads to ride on!
I stopped at a small cafe for some tucker, basic chicken and macaroni, but it tasted nice and filled me up. Here I saw the reason why the Russians need to learn English, this is a sad case of false advertising, she should have let here daughter wear them!!!
I came to this bridge over a lake, it was being repaired so one lane at a time, but for some reason the traffic on the other side was banked up for miles by the looks. It was not until I got to the other side that I saw a car stopped and repairing a flat tyre!!! Right there, no thinking about moving down the road a bit to let other people around him, part of the culture here though, like the rear view mirrors, totally wasted on Russian cars, they never use them.
So I finally get into Kazan and immediately get thrown by detours due to roadworks right in the city center where all the old buildings are, I went round a few times before I used some illegal maneuvers and broke free and managed to get to the hotel, which was an absolute dump!
I went down to the local cafe where a young chap spoke good English. This is where I found they kept serving beers, I was sure they were mine, but it turns out they were for other people, sure confused me at the time but I was sitting in the servery and they were too nice to move me along
Anyway, he told me that to get to the next town on my route, Samara, would take 10 hours, I thought it was closer than that, but with no wifi I could not check the distance but the roads are so bad with traffic and stoppages etc, crikey!! I cut short the nice evening after some quick tucker and went back for a shower and bed, I intended to start early the next morning!!
Cheers from Kazan, Russia