Acquired a sputnik pillion rider

I manged to arrive in Tashkent 12 hours before Ann's flight was due from London which I thought was pretty good timing having crossed one and a half continents to get here. Ann (or Annie as she is also known) is due to travel with me until Mongolia - or until she gets tired of my singing on the bike.

She's had an intense introduction to life on the road - first a dodgy black market money transaction where the bloke tried to rip us off- money in Kazakhstan is tricky as the largest bank note is 1000 som (about 70 cents) so just doing a bit of shopping involves carrying a huge wad of money and counting out 166 banknotes discreetly in the middle of the street is not easy.

We had a good night out in the Biker's Bar which led to us not making it to the Internet cafe before it closed to give a rundown on events before we left Tashkent, however we are probably barred now as we left with money owing on our bar tab - whoops.

Our plan was to set off early from our hotel.