Still stuck at the border. My bruv Rich and mate Conrad have been hammering thr phones at Embassies, consuls et al to see if they can get me though early but no joy yet.
Then just I was bedding down in my dust encrusted sleeping bag for another night being bitten to death, an amazing thing happened. The boss man came over to my tent, took me over to the staff canteen, fed me fried eggs on bread and ice cold water (best meal ever) then took me across the border to a shop and bought me fresh cold water, biscuits and an ice cream and would not take a penny. What a great bloke. I’ve got his address and will be sending him loadsa goodies from England when I get back. I’m genuinely overwhelmed and was at the end of my tether. Between him, Rich & Conrad they’ve kept my spirits up. Only one more day and night here then I’m on my way. Easy 🙂
Another little gem I got today from the two lads who run the foot and mouth decontamination unit where cars and trucks drive through, is this … To keep these pesky flies from constantly buzzing round your head & getting up your nose, in your mouth & ears is to rub powdered vanilla over your face and hair. Works a treat for a couple of hours and helps to cover up the nasty whiff that’s starting to come off me.
I’ve offered to help the two lads out directing cars tomorrow!
View from my tent
About 20 mins after I took this picture the boss man came back out and in sign language (he speaks no English and my Russian extends to about 5 phrases) told me to break camp and follow him.
He found me a space in the secure TIR park in the military compound for the Tiger, took me into the barracks and said help myself to the shower, food, water and the facilities. I’m stunned and delighted at the same time.
He’s a top bloke. All the soldiers under his command (including the one who spotted the visa discrepenacy) came up for a chat at some point all offering different opinions on which route to go to get to Almaty and the Chinese border. A few spoke good English and over breakfast the second day we agreed I had a new Kazakh family. There’s a real family atmosphere about the place.
Dima (the boss) can’t be more that 25-30, looks a little like Christian Slate, commands huge respect from all his staff. When he walks in the room by christ you know it. Everyone’s on their feet, snapped to attention! Me included!
So I’m now billeted in the army lounge, kipping in a big armchair with multi channel TV. At one point I was even watching St Helens v Leeds in Super League in Russian trying to explain the differences between League (northern monkeys) and Union (proper bloke’s rugby) over a shared bottle of Lipton’s ice tea.
If Carlsberg did stuck in no man’s land between Russia and Asia for 3 days this would be it.
I’ve heard that Kazakh hospitality is second to none, but this experience has been a real eye opener. I hope they never loose that under the onslaught of western captialism and cynisism. Spelling’s all to cock, but it’s late.
I was even given mobile phone numbers for the boss with the message if I need help just shout. Lovin’ it!