After a few great days spent in Kyrgyzstan spent in the company of new friends, 20,000 ft. mountains, strippers, and great Lebanese food, we headed to Kazakhstan on Saturday afternoon.
Pulling into the border, we found ourselves confronted with a balaclava and pistol laden border guard who was in the process of pushing a woman back from the border gate. This Ork-like barbarian turned to our bus with curiosity, dropped the woman, and beelined it for our bus.
I was nervous.
He got on the bus, looked around, then stared at me, the wrinkle of a smile becoming apparent beneath his mask, and threw up two thumbs up. He introduced himself as Oscar, a 30 year old Kazakh, and he was very excited about our bus. He proceeded to usher me from station to station for the next three hours as I collected the 12 stamps needed to enter Kazakhstan.
We got to Almaty that evening, and I have to say, Borat was wrong. After driving through 200km of beautiful countryside with fantastic roads, we arrived into the thumping heart of Saturday night. The nightlife was incredible, the music energetic and original, the youth progressive and welcoming, and the women beautiful. After one of the best nights on the trip, we topped up Sunday morning with our first cappucinos in 3,000 miles and hit the road for the 1,100km trek to Semey, near the Russian border.
We drove for 23 hours through the steppes of Kazakhstan, skirting the Chinese border for the majority of the trip. Ascending each bluff offered a new vantage point from which we could see the next twenty miles ahead of us.
We drove through the night, our gallant steed leading the way through the evening. As we headed north through the wilderness, we witness the sun, stars, and moon rotating around us like an intergalactic gyroscope. We carved a straight path through the land, witnessing a show stopping sunset, one of the most star-ridden nights I’ve ever witnessed, and an impeccable sunrise.
Our bus needed an histobraketomy, which we granted it, and now we are in great shape as we head to Russia this evening. Hope to get one more post in before the Mongolian border tomorrow or Wed!