Friday, 2 August 2013

Finn's, Camping and sunsets

When we first drove into Atyrau the sun had already gone down so finding our way was a little difficult, but we were still a little surprised by how small the city really was. Don’t get us wrong, the roadhouse was full of Kazakh charm, truly charismatic owners and delicious food but it was missing a few things that a western girl on the road craves; a hot shower, a flushing toilet and wifi! Therefore, as soon as the sun was up we said our goodbyes and headed out in search of our necessities!

What we found was a fairly large international city with big shiny hotels offering all the required amenities, and that had we continued on in the darkness for 5 more minutes we would have found this out the night before. Then again we would have missed out on our unique little Kazakh roadhouse experience so we can’t complain!

Once we had organized ourselves we headed out of the city through the rush hour traffic in search of the Uzbekistan border. We pulled over to quickly fill the car up with petrol but as soon as we stopped the car we got a friendly beep-beep from a little yellow Suzuki covered in Finnish and Mongolian flags with three big smily faces starring back at us from inside. More Mongol Ralliers!

The three Finnish lads, Mika, Tommy and Frank were heading to the Uzbekistan border themselves and wondered if we would like to head there together. There is always strength in numbers and I guess after two weeks on the road together Jess and I could do with some new people to talk to.

We drove for the entire day only stopping to eat at roadside cafes and to switch drivers, so despite some more terrifying desert thunderstorms we made great time. After going past a number of remote Kazakh villages we decided to pitch our tents a few hundred meters off the main road out in the middle of the Kazakh desert with our new friends under the stars.

We headed to bed early because tomorrow we get to sample the notorious Uzbekistan border control.

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