Fast-track register

This was another border-pass day. As they looked through my pictures last time, I switched SD-cards this time, and took some really bad pictures by just photographing everything I could in two minutes, which gave me 48 bad pictures. This it the ones looking best, one of Catharina and Henrik, and one of the border (kind of):

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We had to walk over again, which went by half an hour or something. The cars got stuck behind someone though, as they checked the car before really throughly; they took everything apart and looked in all the bags, while they did not check us that much. It took some time, but after a long wait the cars came through!

We drove to Almaty, where we would register us. We were pretty lucky, it seems; Fredrik went in to check, and left his passport, followed by a few more. As it seems they though it was just a couple, they did it pretty fast, while they saw other passports lying in big boxes in the background. They did seem to get less and less happy when we added more and more passports, though. but it went by really fast!

After a dinner at the place on the opposite side of the street, we drove north for a while before stopping for the night.

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Picking people up

We started by going down the mountain and back into the city again.

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We looked for a mechanic so that we could refill grease in the cars. We also looked for a weapon shop as we tried to find some archery equipment. We could not find any bows, though, but a lot of different guns.

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We managed to find a mechanic close to where we parked as we looked for the weapon shop, and while the cars were getting greased, the rest of us explored the shopping mall close by. It was a three story shopping mall, with lots of arcades on the top, and even bumper cars! I bought a kinder egg and some ice tea, while surfing around the web and waiting for the cars to get done.

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After that, we finally went to the hostel. We met up with Catharina, Joakim and Eric, who would follow us for the next three weeks!

We went out for lunch, as everyone were really hungry since it was three o’clock. We went to a pretty nice place, where Pontus and Björn had been eating a couple of times while they were waiting for us.

The rest of the day I stayed at the hostel. We started with some laundry, and everybody started showering, as there had been some days since last time. I wrote four-five blog posts as I was behind schedule (and always will be). While using the computer and checking my junk mail, I saw a mail I had received from the booking of the Yurt camp, where he had told us to contact him for information about navigating there. As it had gone to the junk mail we had not seen it, but that was a little late now.

I met a really nice guy at the hostel, named Zack, who had been traveling abroad from the US for three years, with a small brake for one christmas. He had been living in Malaysia for six months and had been travelling to most of Asia and a little bit of everywhere in the world. Really cool guy, and I had a pleasant time talking to him!

For dinner, we ordered pizza with delivery to the hostel. Some went away to buy something to drink, and while away, the owner of the hostel, Chris, asked ”What soda do you want to your pizzas?”. I said coke and fanta, and he came back again; ”There is seven bottles.How do you want to mix it?”. We ended up with too much soda, and the pizzas were twice the size we were used to, so we could not manage eat up that either.

After staying up until two o´clock, chatting with Björn and Pontus and writing on the blog, I stole Björns old bed in the room with AC. He would sleep inside as he would have to leave at half past four, which suited me perfect – the room without AC were too hot, and sleeping outside had been my backup plan too.

Swimming horse

I did feel better when I wake up, even if I did not feel good. The nausea was gone, and my stomach did not really hurt anymore. I also managed to start eating again, even if it was not the most pleasant thing, and in the evening that part started feeling like normal.
As it was a resting day, there were nothing planned. Some went up in the mountains to the place the Yurt camp were supposed to be, but did not manage to find anything.
I stayed in camp, and continued on Pokémon, which I had not touched in over a week. At least I rested well, and got to sleep many hours during the night and afternoon before.

  
In the afternoon, we played some card games for a while. I had to go to the bathroom too many times during the day, but otherwise I could at least rest, even if I felt unhygienic and dirty. The river was too lively, so you could only splash by the side of it.

  
Suddenly, we had a horse in our camp, and later another one got pushed over the river by its shepherd. They had their forelegs tied, probably so they would not be able to run away. They seemed to become friends, or at least help each other keep the flies out of each other face the rest of the day, until one of them got fetched.

  
  
I also played around with the ND-filter for my camera, and I think the result was pretty nice!
  
It was a pity I did not feel this a little little earlier, as I could have stayed in the hostel instead, with a real toilet, shower and AC. This was a typical happening that made it feel bad going in a group like this, as I otherwise could have turned when I started feeling bad. At least I got the positive part, with the group setting camp, cooking food and fixing whatever needed to be fixed! 

  

Silver and mountains

Down the mountain and into Bishkek, we drove to the hostel where we would sleep in a few nights. There, we picked up the long lost Pontus again, and also Björn, who would stay with us for a few days. The hostel seemed really nice with a pool, washing machine and all, and I think we will have some good days here later!
As this was more or less half the trip we went to change the oil and clean the cars. Because of all the dust we have been driving through, every time you put something inside the car, it gets dirty, including ourselves.

   
 We found out there were a lunch place on the same place we were washing the cars, and decided to order our food there to save time, as they could have it ready when we were ready.

  
After lunch we headed outwards from the city. We were headed for the Yurt Camp, and as we did not know how much food they would have, we wanted to have a backup. Once again, they started out not believing us when we told them that we wanted big volumes of everything, but after we emptied their stock of water, I think they understood. We also bought some ice creams, but pretty soon after eating it I started to feel bad.
We drove 80 kilometres east, before heading south, up into the mountains. We had another 40 kilometre to the Yurt camp, and passed bad roads and unstable bridges on the way. We started climbing, and passed 2000 metres after a while. Now, we encountered problems, though.
There were a big hole where the road used to be, and a couple of digging machines around it. After talking with the people working there, we got it clear that they had made findings of silver and gold, and decided that the road were not that important. He told us about another road, which we decided to try, not knowing if it was the same Yurt camp or not.
After driving down for a while, and continuing on another road up again, we were pretty sure that this places did not exist within comfortable reach, and as we did not have any clue if they still existed at all, we decided to skip it. We found a nice spot by a river where we put up camp.
As my stomach had gotten worse, with some nausea and stomach pains, I stayed in the back of the car and slept. I did not feel like having dinner at all, and therefore skipped it, sleeping until I went up to brush my teeth and go sleep in the tent instead. 

Living with strangers

  
Now, we aimed for the border to Kyrgyzstan! On the way there we got stopped by the police, and the one checking me was also born in 1991, which he thought was really funny!

While driving though a city, we drove past a really tight road. We really had to crush some bushes to come thorugh!

  
When we arrived at the border everyone but the ones driving the cars had to walk over. It went pretty quick, but on the other side we had to wait for the cars instead. I bought a Pepsi and a Snickers while trying to spend the time. I also called home to my parents to get an update from home, as I haven’t talked with them since I left. At least they are taking caring of themselves and my apartment!
When the cars had passed, we got to hear that the guards had checked our cameras, and they found some pictures really funny; more specific, the ones with five of us without pants on the peak we had climbed. No problem with the missile base-pictures or anything, at least!

  
We took out money, and discovered that most ATMs don’t take MasterCard. Too bad my bank switched earlier, so I have two banks with MasterCard. We went and ate lunch anyway, planning to solve it later. They had glasses with badly written motivators on it!

  

I went outside and asked some older ladies about an ATM. The closest one were apparently the one we had visited, so I had to wait.

  
There were a national park we had in mind to check out but as we came there we saw what we anticipated: no camping allowed. We drove down the road a bit and tried one of the smaller roads, but it did not seem to go anywhere else than to people’s houses. There were two elder people who came walking, and I tried to ask for a place to sleep at. They signed that they would show us, and we took them with us in the cars and drove to their home.
They offered us to sleep inside (probably for a pay) but we managed to tell them we have the tents and the cars. We spent the afternoon with their two children, and also a guy on a horse appeared, and offered us some horseback riding for a small amount. Jakob did a fireshow!

I had a really great time, and I am glad I talked with those people, as we otherwise don’t get interaction with the locals in the same way.