14degrees off the beaten track
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September 3rd, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories

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Currently in the run-down city of Karakol in eastern Kyrgyzstan staying at a very nice hostel, Yak Tours Hostel. The mission for the next two weeks is to get my Tajikistan and Uzbekistan visas from Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. I ride the night bus to Bishkek tonight. My bike and most of my gear stays locked up here at the hostel until I come back. I really want to visit Song-Kol and ride across the mountains to Osh, rather than riding my bike to Bishkek. I also save about 300km riding this way too.

In Bishkek I will post my diary entries and photos from the past few days. It has been amazing, amazing scenery, and once again fantastic locals, including leaving Kazakhstan with more money that I entered the country with! Stay tuned!

Thank you all for all your questions and comments. I will answer them all once I get more time in Bishkek (two weeks waiting for visas!).

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    Permanent Link     Comments (16)

Comment by Satoshi — September 4, 2006 @ 9:24 am | post a comment

Hi Rob

I am curious which bike parts and other items you brough with have been performing swell and/or totally useless?? Can you actually locate the matching spares locally or have to have them imported via airmail from Japan? As I missed being on the track I decided to take two weeks off (I got made redundancy which is timely cos i needed a vacation so I am doing it between jobs) to take a 9day 4wd safari from Broome to Darwin. It's not the hottest time of the year and also before the "wet" monsoon season so I sure will have a great time. No visas or exchanging money needed, also no translators will be needed for my trip he he he. I try not t o get eaten by the crocs and some weiredo's (I mean people) living out in the bush – have you watched a film Wolfecreek?

Good luck with your getting visas. Don't we all hate paperwork and having to deal with the authorities? I suggest you to revise that chinese no-go area violation bits on your website if you can as in some countries that is considered to be criminal offence and when you apply for a visa some other countries and your record might pop up on the computer (you wrote they were about to type those in to the system, right? You may have to declare that case each time you are asked if you have a criminal record. In OZ for example they even ask about minor traffic offences. Saying no to such questions may result in non-issue of visa so you have to carry around that piece of paper you got form the chinese authority for the next ten years to tell te story so keep that in a safe place ;-)

I am impressed by how far you have travelled!!!

Take care: Satoshi

Comment by Peter Parnes — September 4, 2006 @ 12:35 pm | post a comment

Nice to hear from you! I have been a bit worried that you "got lost" :)

2 weeks without a bike? How will you manage? :)

Comment by Aunty Les — September 4, 2006 @ 2:38 pm | post a comment

Great to hear from you again.

3 large boxes arrived on our doorstep addressed to you so I presume it's stuff you've posted from Japan.

Did you allow for 2 weeks waiting for visas in your travel plans? I trust you find some interesting things to do in that time.

Comment by Mike C — September 4, 2006 @ 3:55 pm | post a comment

Good to hear from you Rob. We were wondering where you'd got to. :-)

Comment by Aunty Lyn — September 4, 2006 @ 8:50 pm | post a comment

Glad you are alive and kicking!! Enjoying your postings.

Comment by Aunty Les — September 4, 2006 @ 9:40 pm | post a comment

I've been looking at the map and did you know there are 3 Karakol's in Kyrgyzstan? The one you're in is, I presume, by the lake Ysuk-Kol. Did you get some good views of the lake on the bus ride to Bishek? The road looks like it goes right by the side of the lake on my atlas map, but that may not be so in reality.

I've also found Songkol, which looks to be a small lake, but on my map there aren't any roads to it!

Comment by Haidee — September 6, 2006 @ 4:39 am | post a comment

Heyya, wishing I was there to show you around, be sure to eat yum fried rice `Plof`, and `Lagman` noodles (if you can cope), get to the bazaar and enjoy the fruits and veges, mmm laploshka (fresh flattish bread), I wonder if you`ll run into anyone I knew…marshotkas are the best public transport 5 som wave `em down anywhere and get off anywhere `astanovitte cdes pashalusta` please stop here.

ahh to be in Bishkek….

Comment by Ailsa — September 6, 2006 @ 9:49 am | post a comment

hey you, just a quick posting to say hi and that it's great to hear all about your trip, glad you're still alive! Where will you be the last week of october? I've got a week off school…

anyway enjoy the stans


Comment by Mum — September 6, 2006 @ 10:27 pm | post a comment

Looking forward to seeing your pics. Glad you had a good time through Kazakhstan. Still eating spiced noodles?

Comment by Murdo — September 7, 2006 @ 2:01 am | post a comment


Those are some fantastic pictures Rob! I cannot even imagine what it must be like to be camping somewhere so huge and yet so empty. You must be able to do some serious deep thinking. I envy you, keep up the good work!

How did you know that lizard WASN'T dangerous? (coming from a total insect pussy!) haha


Comment by Rob Thomson — September 7, 2006 @ 4:00 am | post a comment

Murdo, I poked it with a stick first, and decided that since it didn't try to attack the stick, it probably wouldn't attack me…are there such thing as poisonous geckos?

Comment by Rob Thomson — September 7, 2006 @ 4:03 am | post a comment

Satoshi, good points about the China 'incident'… As for parts on my bike that have been good and bad, there is nothing so far that has given me a major breakdown. A cheap aluminium bottle cage from Japan broke, but that was easily fixed with a couple of hose clamps. I am really impressed with the bike I have. Very sturdy and obviously made for heavy touring.

Comment by Rob Thomson — September 7, 2006 @ 4:06 am | post a comment

Aunty Les, the two boxes from Japan are indeed mine. The smaller of the two contains my laptop, so Mark might be interested in taking ownership of that until I get back to NZ. As for Issy-kol lake, I was on the night bus, so no views of the lake. I hope to get some when travelling along the south side of the lake soon. Song-Kol lake does have roads to it, but they are pretty hairy as far as I have heard.

Comment by Rob Thomson — September 7, 2006 @ 4:07 am | post a comment

Mum, no more spicy noodles for me! The food here is great. Lots of potatoes and meat. I have lost a lot of weight though I think…certainly less padding around the stomach than I used to have.

Comment by Rob Thomson — September 7, 2006 @ 4:12 am | post a comment

Haidee, Bishkek is much nicer than I had imagined. A very nice place. I have met with some people you know – Richbek and Lyn. Thanks for letting them know that I was due to arrive here. They were nice enough to contact me by email.

Comment by Rob Thomson — September 7, 2006 @ 4:13 am | post a comment

Ailsa, I should be in Uzbekistan at the end of October. Probably either in Tashkent sorting out my Azerbaijan visa, or in Samarkand or Bukhara. Come to Uzbekistan!

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