In Almaty, Kazakhstan we rented a Flat via booking.com after 2 unsuccessful bookings via airbnb (booking and payment was confirmed, then no reaction from the host and in the end the flats were already filled by other people, always discussions and calls with the airbnb support because the hosts didn’t want to cancel because they lose money – which was def. not our problem :D)
We stayed 3 nights in Almaty – tired of driving and rallying. Went a bit out for some drinks and the rest of the time we just hung out and had awesome food :).
So the cops Looooooove Seth. Seems to be whatever country we cruise through they pick up on his racing steez and pull him over to get his autograph. Whats remarkable is we’ve burned out of every stop, including this one, without paying a single unit of local, or US currency. This genuine officer, after a friendly exchange, insisted we take his number and call him at any point if we had anymore troubles.
Driver gets the hot seat in the cop car, passenger seat with cop behind and to the left. Feeling duly chagrined as co-pilot, and righteous with newfound knowledge of the actual speed limits for the road, I joined at the cop car. We were up to the ‘penalty process’ in the affair. Things were jovial. Big waves and laughs as another of the rally crew walks up. Its the best when cops and border guards insist on giving you their cigarets when they see what brand your offering. They take one to be polite but are actually judging your prowess as a smoker. Gunned at 109 with proof on the screen in the backseat, official limit 110 on rural highways. Shenlong- 2 Others- Nil.
The Legendary German Hessen Pub. Somewhere one the side of the road, Kyrgyzstan. A request for a German menu at this establishment was met with confusion. The irony was lost on the staff. Otherwise the similarities were impressive and as far as brew goes, they did the best they could.
The steaks were cooked to reflect our level of Kyrgyz fluency.
Brewhouse behind the bar, clean, very impressed. Two taps pouring. Super German everything, Markus was impressed.
See that giant pothole bottom left? We missed that one because we hit one before it. Smoke on horizon was a uncontrolled brush fire, only attendees the passing cars.
Speculation on reason for 2.5ms of cement base for all the service poles- less fire repair in remote areas, case closed?
And so it begins. This section looks pretty tame actually. We still managed a flat though.
Everyone’s tally went up that day. One driver, from zero to two; another to six plus. Haha. All fixes accomplished in good spirits, we are on a flat based rotation, get one and swap drivers. Some drive a lot longer than others.
This is an obvious indication of extremely dangerous wear and tear. Happened to two tires the same day. We have new tires now, and repaired ball joint!
Lack of spoken Russian and dodgy google translating lead us to believe that we would have to replace the ball joint. This mechanic spoke not a lick of English except for one word, when we found out he fixed it. “Magic” Had us roaring with laughter and relief. Biggest problem is to get 13” tires, very unusual size for these countries.
The Missus, up on the rack, its her TLC time. She absolutely deserves it.
A continually stoked rallier and another super stoked mechanic. These guys really appreciate the dumbness of what we’re doing and are fully supportive.
Considering they are the ones that deal with brunt of our miscalculated turns and unsuccessful everything elses.
Our most confusing border to date for sure. Also only border crossing to involve a auto collision so far. Also featured stop and start three lane car jockeying and full sprint running to border control points on multiple occasions, total family affairs. Total time spent crossing, 3.5 confusing hours.