Dankeschon in Taldqorghan

The winds were gusting strongly as we crossed the steppes, with lots of tumbleweed blowing across the road, looking more like a cowboy western every day. Our first night out of Almaty, Annie was keen not to camp, mainly because of the strong winds and we managed to negotiate the use of a yurt. Not quite the romantic, out in the wilds surrounded by horses image that people might have of them as this one was right next to a cafe car park on the main road heading north- but it was bliss, lots of room for the two of us, though there was no guarantee that it doesn't act as a truckers' dorm and so we prepared for unwanted late night guests by piling our luggage against the non-locking door.


The next morning we found that we had a couple of problems, firstly with a battery that wouldn't start the bike, a plainclothes policeman was our main helper as we attempted to use our hairdryer type cables to get a jump start from a car, which helped a bit but we ended up with push-starting Thelma.

At the same time the rubber gaiter on the shaft had split again and so we headed to Taldqorghan, the nearest big town where we were lucky enough to meet Sergei Epinger and his son Marc. They are German and so could communicate with us - an amusing scenario for those who know how useless my German language skills are. But, I got my message across and after a couple of phone calls, Sergei's friend - Andre (another German speaker) arrived, he rides a motorbike and expertly replaced the gaiter on Thelma.

Many, many thanks to them for their help and they wouldn't accept any money as payment for what was not an easy task.

We are finding that the people of Kazakhstan are extremely hospitable and generous.