DAY 75 I couldn’t sleep on this thing… an obese fella who was pleasant enough had me pinned against the window, no matter what position I attempted, a large section of me was firmly pressed against him… their was no air con, it was sweltering on there and the body heat from where we were […]
I couldn't sleep on this thing... an obese fella who was pleasant enough had me pinned against the window, no matter what position I attempted, a large section of me was firmly pressed against him... their was no air con, it was sweltering on there and the body heat from where we were connected just made the experience simply rank. At 4 in the morning everyone piled off for a leg stretch. the heat had me pickled. I sat on a step and stared blankly at a line of oddly placed shipping containers. I noticed a moth the size of my hand, its body half the size of a 'Smarties tube'. It was struggling and writhing around on the ground, it eventually sorted itself out only to fly straight up and knock itself dumb on the courtyard lamp. I walked over to inspect it, their was a hole in the concrete with a gap where the ledge of the container met the ground, another Moth crawled out, then another... over the next 20 minutes close to a 100 crawled out of that gap, struggled to their feet, flew up to the courtyard lamp, knocked themselves dumb then sorted themselves out. This amusement settled my mind. Back on the bus 'obese fella' had taken up 2 newly vacant seats behind me... he smiled when I saw him, our shared torture was over. No need to temporarily cease from existence, instead I just fell asleep.
I slept too much... the young 'bus Marshall' weirdo Kazakh kid didn't wake me up at Shymkent. He woke me up in a mad flurry and bundled me off the bus in the middle of the desert under a bridge... 2 cars were parked under it. I am not one for fine function in the mornings and can get quite grumpy if harassed when first awake. The 2 guys from the cars were all over me before I could even put my bags down to collect myself. I think I snapped at them... infact I did. Turns out they were genuine and nice.
Due to sheer kafuffle avoidment and the printer not working back at the digs in Almaty, I had no map or translations set up... I was heading West blind. I jumped in a taxi with the nice guy, his Uncle and Nephew ( I think) and assumed we were off to the City of Turkenstein,(further down the road from Shymkent) where I would gather myself, get maps and a feed etc. We arrived instead at a massive Border section.
"Turkenstan, Turkenstan" I said pointing at the border gate adamantly...
"yes, yes" was the confident reply.
Obviously not being on the ball, tired and not having any reference to call on bar my frazzled mind... I went with a ' Tuknestan must be one of those rich seperate state things' delusion.
English men must not visit these parts in this manner often, unless in business motercades or army get up. Checks, double checks and waves of questions, they took so long the guy who led me here, who to be fair stayed with me till it was no longer possible left my sight. 3 hours later I get through the Kazakh side of the border, cross the no mans land to be greeted by a huge sign saying 'Uzbekistan'... a completely different country. I quickly knew where I was and did not want to be there. My Kazakh visa only allowed one entry and they had just stamped me out... a very large Clanger!. Everything pended on the type of person I got on going back through the Kazakh border. I trooped back through no mans land, puzzled faces followed my every move. The first official who encountered me was certainly bamboozled. my eye was keenly out for someone who dealt with me on the way in. Thankfully Kazakhstan won 3 Gold medals that day...2 in Weight Lifting and 1 in Boxing.
"London, England...Olympiad" was the cry, then
"Why you here"...
"because I love Kazakhstan of coarse".
A crowd of 6 officials quickly gathered to gawp at me... the problem was quickly resolved.
You must pay for everything in Kazakhstan and have your eye out for being scammed all the time...it is a shame. A guy charged me 500 tenge to take me back to where the bus dropped me off, he gathered a few more peeps before he set off. I spyed the others only pay 200 tenge, as did I...he didn't kick off.
At long last the Thumb was out, aloft, in view, doing its thing, being cush... and of coarse 5 minutes later the Thumb was off...with a 3000 tenge/15 quid fee, I was Turkenstan bound. Pure Hitch hiking is not the way here in Kazakhstan. The guy dropped me off at the train station, it was midnight and folk were crawled up asleep left and right... I followed suite.