Early departure as usual. The road seems awful from the very beginning. We are riding our bikes through an immense “steppa” with a light rain following us all the way. In the middle of nowhere we notice a man with his old Soviet Ural sidecar. We decide to stop to see if he needed some help but we realize he was there to sell some fish he had cough just a little earlier. The road is still terrible: full of potholes that look more like little craters. The concentration is at 100%. A little distraction could mean the end of the trip. Exhausted we finally arrive in Semey, a town famous for the numerous atomic experiments that were conducted during the Socialistic era. The next morning we are heading toward the Russian border that is only 20 KM away.
Early departure direction Almaty. The scenery in front of us is gradually changing the mountains are getting smaller with no trees but seemed to be covered by a green smooth carpet. It reminds me of the foothills I have seen in Alberta Canada.
We decide to stop for the evening in Sarqan because we were advise that the road ahead of us is dangerous, being full of criminals that often try to stop you to steel money and belongings with handguns. We have dinner in a shady little restaurant and on our way back to the hostel we realize that this part of the country is abandoned to itself. It seems like people here believed in the Soviet system and once it collapsed were left on their own. The level of poverty is tangible. People seemed to drink heavily all day. The buildings are left the way they were thirty years ago and falling down.
June 2nd 2011
Leaving Taraz a little later than usual. The first 150 Km went smooth but when we stop to fill up at a gas station, Matteo finds a problem with his motorcycle chain. We try to fix the problem ourselves but Matteo feels that if the problem persist it could end his journey. I suggest stopping at the next city and trying to find a mechanic to help us out. We were lucky enough to find a person that had a good know how on “do it yourself” jobs and with some kind of rubber was able to fix our problem. We arrive in Korday, a little town at the border with Kirgikistan, The scenery is spectacular. The mountains around us are 15000 feet. Matteo and myself would really love to make a detour to Kirgikistan but our lack of time doesn’t allow it.
At midnight we are finally admitted into Kazachstan. Our rule # 1 is never ride at night so we decide to find a place to sleep for the night. Just outside the border we find a roof that could be suitable to sleep for a few hours. After a freezing night we wake up early heading to Taraz which is about 360 KM away. After a few kilometers we decide to have some breakfast in the first little town we encounter along the way. Our first impression of the Kazachi food is not the best. We are served a kind of pastry filled with onions and goat meat. Remember that it is 6.00 Am. The scenery is beautiful with immense valleys and mountains but the heavy traffic and Police keep us from enjoying it fully. At our first stop many curious people asking where we were from and taking a lot of pictures of us surround us. We were also requested some autographs from children. Now we know what it feels to be movie stars J. Some time in the late afternoon we arrive in Taraz. Early night due to the fact that we did not sleep very well the night before.