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Through Russia into Kazakhstan

October 3, 2015 0 Comments

First impressions of Kazakhstan: good people – warm and friendly. The infrastructure here is pretty basic. When crossing the border into Kazakhstan from Russia we picked up immediately the difference – roads, residential and commercial buildings all lack good structure.

Going through a small town called Semi both cars were pulled up by the local police. We think it was for no lights on. One of their laws in this country is to have head lights on at all times. The communication was difficult, as usual. Alan had it sorted while I was being harassed by the cops to pay a fine. Turns out it was a straight out bribe. Cops told me to put some money in my license. They then went to their car with my license and passport, obviously to get the money out of the license out of public view.

I thought I was being clever by giving them Russian currency and not Kazac currency…

However, in the heat of the moment I gave them 4,000 Rubbles. There is about 47 Rubbles to one Australian dollar. The Kazac currency is 140 Tenge to one Australian dollar. So I ripped myself off as the fine was 4,000 Tenge!

At the end of the day I screwed up big time. 🙁 Should have asked for a receipt then they probably would have let me off. I was shitty for the next 24 hours over this little incident.

Today we woke from our motel and did a bit of car maintenance in the motel carpark. Alan installed new LED parker lights running off his solar panels. He had a few issues – maybe he will tell that story in his next blog.

I fixed one front parker light on the Ranger. Alan did find a leak in his radiator… I wonder if this will be entered into the Ford v Cruiser ledger!

About a 100km down the track I went into a small tyre repair place, we had a very slow leak. There was one guy operating his own little business out of this small shed with all the right tyre repair gear etc. He took my back rear right tyre off and repaired the leak. I went to pay him and he indicated in broken English he did not want any money. I could not believe his kind gesture so I gave him an Aussie pen, a kangaroo and a key ring. What a lovely fella. This restored my faith in Kazak people after the corrupt cops ripping us off.

Tonight we are camping for the first time in about a month. A little cold, but not too bad. Apparently there is a lot of wildlife in Kazakhstan. To date we have not seen any, however, early days. Last night’s motel indicated bears, foxes, wild cats, deer, wild dogs, etc. I guess we have this to look forward to in the coming weeks in this country.

Kazakhstan Quarry

Washing Cars from Kazakhstan Quarry

Had a great night’s sleep last night – about 8 degree temperature. Had breakfast and coffee, pulled tents down, packed up awning and wind break. Alan went for a dip in very cold water in a quarry full of crystal clear water. I opted to stay dirty. We filled our water tanks then washed the cars as they were in a pretty bad state.

Stopped about 150km up the road and had a reasonably good lunch -chicken and pasta in a small roadside restaurant. The staff in the restaurant were sour old bitches and not real friendly. I am starting to get a different perspective of these people now. They are not as nice as I once thought.

A few more kms up the road we were once again pulled over by local police for apparently doing 72 in a 60 zone. Neither of us saw any 60 zone. The cops here are just as corrupt as the last lot, taking bribe after bribe. Alan is standing his ground. At the moment as I write this, I am trying to sneak as many photo’s in as possible. Alan just walked past and said he told them he is a judicial officer. He won’t pay any fines without a receipt or proof of the speed we were doing.

We both agreed to just stay here (camp here if we have to) until these pricks let us go. Don’t blame him after what happened to me. Just saw Alan walk past with some money in his hand, maybe they did have proof and maybe they are going to issue a receipt. I can hear him arguing with them now (I am writing this as this fiasco unfolds). So far no money has changed hands. I think Mr Taylor’s opinion of these people may also change.

We are now at a new camp site about another 50km further south. Al just explained he was given what he thought was a receipt for 29,000 Tenge. At a closer look when we camped it is just a speeding ticket, not a receipt. We are now going to write to the Kazakhstan Embassy to put them in the picture of what is going on. Maybe we are winging on deaf ears, however maybe they want to stop some of this corruption, who knows. My guess this is the norm and we will be wasting our time.

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