Don’t tell my Mom I rode 17,000kms from China to her house in Normandy, France with a stolen Yamaha XT250X prototype crossing the middle east on the way.
Episode 10: Stuck in Kazakhstan, time to party.
Hi my deers!
Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack to the report.
Where the hell are we ? In Kazakhstan. You know, this country that you did not even know before you saw the movie Borat.
Welcome to Kazakhstan.
Guess what, it is the 9th largest country on this planet ! Larger than Mexico!
It is also the country where whenever you see a policeman on the side of the road, what you really have in front of you is a huge toll gate with a random fee, to pay cash, usually quite high considering the road has not been repaired for the last 30 years.
Oh and guess what, they also do that in the cities. Policemen are telling you that you were exceeding speed or whatever the fuck they want. How do you react to that ? I personally start juggling with anything I find on the side of the road or I ask where the fuck are the toilets because I can't hold it and have to go pee.
Works pretty well.
Anyways, so, here I am, in Kazakhstan, driving in direction of the main city of Almaty. Night is falling pretty quick, it is the end of summer. I have to stop at a restaurant for the night, I do not have any local money but they are very friendly and offer me food and let me sleep on a table of the restaurant. To thank them I hided a bill of 20 euros somewhere, so they'll probably find it in 2 months and will be happy about it.
Almaty, the main city
Next day I am reaching Almaty. Hot weather, a lot of traffic, I am going around the city and feeling like in Eastern Europe. Chatting with some people, looking for a hotel room somewhere, eating at cool restaurants. So different from China.
The typical street store
Cool decoration in this cafť
Question was : Where the hell was I going next ? Russia ? Uzbekistan ? Turkmenistan ? Iran ?
I really wanted to go through the Arabian countries and visit Israel also. Pure curiosity.
It was also really hard to get a visa for Russia and it would take 2 months to get one for Iran.
So the plan started looking as follows : crossing the Caspian sea by boat in order to get from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan and then go into Georgia, Turkey and the Arabian countries.
It was really hard to get an Azeri Visa and took a lot of time.
During this time I met Tim Dzaman (Canada), Cory Hanson (Canada) and Petar Rikic (Croatia) who just arrived in Kazakhstan from Mongolia and Russia. They were the first adventure riders I met since the start of my trip (not counting the Chinese guys on electric scooters).
We spent an afternoon at the visa office together, looking like 4 huge chickens ready to give out a lot of money to all the corrupted officers. Anyways, after a few hours I felt like I knew Tim, Cory and Petar for years. We headed out for some crazy time in the Kazakh clubs and it was a lot of fun.
Here you can see my bike (the bicycle on the left) and Tim's, Cory's, Petar's bike on the right
Don't eat my bike Petar please!!
After this, waiting for my visa to get ready I started couchsurfing with some friendly Kazakh people. Going out every night, eating chicken and planning the next leg of the trip was my daily life.
I got chased by the police one more time because I had a girl without helmet on the back.
The funny thing around here is that many young Kazakhs guys were telling me that they hate Borat. Many times I heard : “Hey man, look, we have beautiful cars, beautiful girls and money ! You see it is not like in Borat ! Tell all your friends in Europe that Kazakhstan is not like in Borat movie !”
Anyways, I was riding around Almaty city, waiting for my Azeri visa to be ready. But I did not have many days left on my Kazakh visa now, it was time to leave, quickly.
Oh and let me accomplish my promise to some Kazakhs people : guys, let me tell you, the Kazakhs girls are beautiful it is not like in Borat movie and there is a lot of money flowing around here, a lot coming from petrol.
Next episode: Episode 11 – Reaching the West Coast of Kazakhstan. Rich Russians, boats and guns.
7th march 2012
PS: Any ADVRider in Beijing ? I am there until the 15th of March.
PS 2: Still looking for a Suzuki DR350 (or something similar) to rent/borrow for 2months (August/September) somewhere in the western US for a 60 days motorcycle camping trip around the western US this summer!