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Kazakhstan The Beautiful!

November 1, 2015 1 Comment

We stayed in a beaut guesthouse/motel tonight at a border town (near Uzbekistan), called Saryagsh.

For dinner we ate at a restaurant/function centre, where two other functions were being held. One was a small but wild wedding and the other was a very serious family dinner, each having its own room. We four ate at a huge table, which turned out to be a full size snooker table with benchtop cover.

The meal started normal enough, the host was a lovely, noisy 40 year old Kazak. Three of us got beers (piva) and Lynn asked for water. But the guy’s translation for water was vodka! So he brought a half bottle of vodka, said it was free, and we got into it! We ordered shaslicks, lamb and beef, a pasty pie thing and a lamb dumpling each. They also brought out free salad and some free side dishes. The vodka had gone by now, so we got another free half bottle. (My take on this is that he (the boss) was donating food and drink from the other two functions!) That was fine with us.

The boss rang his boss and over the phone we discussed travel and Australia with him (he spoke very good English). Then the boss brought in the chef, (a Uzbek), the roustabout lady with six gold front teeth, who had had 15 (fifteen!) children and other assorted staff, to meet the four Australians, who are crazy enough to drive to here.

Then, somehow the conversation got onto sex. Well, this bloke was an amazing comic. I reckon he and Eric Bana could do a duo and keep a Russian / English speaking crowd enthralled. His charades and expressions were hilarious. His description of how big his “willie” was and how small Barry and mine obviously were, brought a tear to your eye. He suggested the two girls, Lynn and Donna, were 25 and 26 years old respectively and that Barry and I should go away, and he would take over himself.

When we said we’d had enough to drink, no more, he mimicked that all the traffic police had gone to bed and it (our guesthouse) was only a trifle down the road, the vodka was free, so why show restraint? A very funny night was had by all. He maintained a good level of banter and wasn’t disrespectful to the girls, in fact Lynn was responsible for egging him on!

The next morning one of the ladies had cleaned my shoes, as they were very muddy from me getting the Cruiser bogged earlier in the day. I had left my shoes outside, despite their demands to the contrary, as they were too dirty to wear through the house. I gave her a toy kangaroo, koala and emu for her children and she was stoked. Then they gave us a hot breakfast and refused payment.

Water Collection in Kazakhstan

Collecting water – a common sight in Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan

I did mention that I got bogged on this day didn’t I? Earlier on, we were on the highway, making our way to the Uzbek border, when I called Barry on the radio, from behind, and asked him if he’d checked his rear right tyre pressure lately? For the last two weeks he’s been losing 10 pounds pressure over two days. So he’s just been topping the air up constantly. But now the loss was getting worse, so he pulled into a tyre place, to fix it. (A leaking valve stem on a tubeless tyre).

Lynn and I were ready for a pee, so 200m along the road I pulled over in a reclaimed area, down a gravel track with 40mm of mud on a hard base. Been raining and snowing all day. Then, 50m in from the highway I pulled onto some grass, ok so far but after six more metres, I couldn’t go back or forward. I tried everything, at the end letting 20 pound out of the tyres, but couldn’t get out of this glug. It was a fine saturated clay, stuck like the proverbial to a blanket and I wasn’t going anywhere.

Barry was still doing the tyre, I was praying for a tractor or backhoe to pull me out, but no, when Barry was finished he got the call over the radio and you would have sworn he had won the lottery!! Over the radio came hoops, hollers, whistles and all other forms of celebration noises! Bloody hell.

Anyway, it took some tugging to get me out. The straps we got from shipping Darwin to Dili proved invaluable.

And the Cruiser catching fire? That story will have to wait until next time…

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  1. Barry says:

    this is to declare that the Land Cruiser is a much better car than my Ford Ranger.

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