Day XIV-XV: Kazakhstan.

After driving into a monster hole, we were pleased to be on our way. Heading for Ajtobe & then Astana by Saturday. Roads varied from ok to arttrocious. A couple of close shaves, a lot of testosterone in these parts! Got very lost in Aktobe. Needed to find a place to camp, but very flat & sparse treeless landscape. Saw a tiny hill, so darted off the road,got tent up & Silver Streak covered in camp tarp. Convinced we’d get rumbled (or worse), but we survived the night (using just a tiny torch, clandestine!)
Up at crack of dawn & away.
Got stopped by Police 4 times, but avoided fines using various approaches (OTT friendly works best so far).
Got dark very quickly & just could not find anywhere to camp so slept in car after a Wayfayrer feast. A midgeful night, little blighters. On road by 4:30am. The road suddenly got really, really, really bad. We’d driven for 2hrs & seen just 2 cars.
Stopped to have a cuppa in a windswept deserted ghost town.
Not a place you’d want to break down.
We (foolishly) anticipated 500km of steady driving, hoping to be in Astana by mid-arvo. We’d done 15miles in 2hrs! Then 2 lads drove up. We asked how far to the next town, 40km. Follow us they said. For the next 90mins it was full-on rally driving. These lads knew the roads! We pushed on to Astana & met team ” No funeral” Gavin & Matthew from Norwich. Top lads. In a Skoda with monster tyres. The M36 suddenly got drastically bad. Trucks were getting stuck & our two new friends got very stuck indeed. Helped to dig them out & managed to beg a 4×4 to tow them. The road got worse & with deeper & deeper water. We were all overjoyed to get back on terrafirma & to Astana.
Got lost for an hour & found our digs at 11pm. (Big thank you to Arman for helping us & leading us there).
Slept like babies. A couple of Cervezas de Cristal to celebrate Fiestas Patrias helped…
Astana is a very interesting place. Bonkers architecture.
Drove into a high security place, think it may have been Government buildings & almost got arrested. A tense 5mins!
Heading now to Karaghandy & back into Russia tomorrow.
That’s the plan anyway…
Spirits are HIGH :-)

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