2009/05/09: Day off in Saryozek
Much of our day off in Saryozek was spent sleeping. Our day off coincided with a public gathering and celebration that we found out was a Victory Day celebration, the Russians’ commemoration of the end of WW2. Displays of military prowess and a number of dance and gymnastic displays took place in a central square. The waltz number was very “European”, despite us still being miles from Europe.

09/05/10: Kapchagay 110 km
Travelling on, we rode across grasslands that were coming alive with flowers. We met a French couple, Philippe and Colette, heading the other way, and stopped to talk for well over an hour. We were the first bike travellers they’d met in their 6,000 km trip, so they were happy to chat. They had a year, and were headed to Mongolia. A bit younger than us, they had two new grandchildren at home. We’ve met a couple of other cyclists since entering Kazakhstan: Naoya, a young Japanese lad we met at the border, and pedalled with for the first part of the day leaving Zharkent, and later Igor, a Californian of Russian Azerbaijanian descent who recommended a bike shop here in Almaty.

We depend on the phrase book again for finding accommodation. Two young lads helped us find a room and recommended a place to eat in Kapchagay.

09/05/11: Almaty 82 km (odometer passes 8,000 km)
After feeling rather lost for a while in Almaty, we asked a fellow on a mountain bike for directions. This was Jenya, who thought carefully about our needs and led us through parks and across town to try two different hotels, and who translated for us and was incredibly helpful. On loaded touring bikes, following him on his dual suspension bike was a little tricky, but we learned it’s OK to ride on the sidewalk here. He must have taken more than an hour out of his day for us. Thank you, Jenya!

We are now settled in an excellent and reasonably priced Soviet-era establishment. But we learned “vilasipyet nyet” means we cannot bring our bikes into the room. Now for a few days of chasing Uzbek visas and bike shops, and of sampling a cosmopolitan selection of foods.


3 responses to “Grasslands

  1. Good day, Chris and Margo!
    It’s Jenya!
    I’m happy that you like the hotel.
    If you want, a can show you our mountains and other nice places.
    Please, call me +7 01 750 08 30 if you want!

  2. Hi, Chris and Margo!
    It’s Jenya!
    I’m happy that you like the hotel.
    If you want, I can show you our mountains and other nice places!
    Call me +7 701 750 08 30 if you have time.

  3. Hi Jenya,

    We really appreciated the time you took to help us find a hotel in Almaty. We're sorry we didn't contact you, but we were extremely tired and also spending time on a visa application.

    Could you please contact us through this page:
    We would like to mail you a thank you card, and would very much like to keep in touch. We'll give you the tour of our city by bicycle if you come to Vancouver!

    With appreciation,
    Margo and Chris

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