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14degrees off the beaten track
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第98日目 - パノラマ写真出来上がり!
October 29th, 2006 | categorizilation: 全カテゴリー, カザフスタン, キルギス, タジキスタン


Near Kerege-Tash Pass, Kyrgyzstan

Kerege-Tash Pass, Kyrgyzstan

West of Urumqi, China

On the way to Naryn, Kyrgyzstan

On the road to Kazerman, Kyrgyzstan


Aqbaital Pass, Pamir Highway, Tajikistan

Near Alichur, Tajikistan

Khargush Pass, near Wakhan Valley, Tajikistan

Sharin Canyon, Kazakhstan

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第41日目 - シャリンカンヨンからカザフスタン・キルギスの国境まで(日本語要約)
September 1st, 2006 | categorizilation: 全カテゴリー, カザフスタン, キルギス

Distance / 距離: 95.39km
Time / 時間: 7h 38m
Average speed / 平均速度: 12.5km/h
Distance to date / 今日までの積算距離: 1990.7km


I sit in my tent here about 1km from the Kyrgyzstan border after just crossing over only a hour ago. Compared to the China to Kazakhstan border, this was a piece of cake. Only 10 minutes and I was through. The Kyrgyzstan border guard asked if I had any documentation for my bike, I said of course not, and that was the end of the matter.

The day began with more of the sandy road from Sharin Canyon to the main road. This morning I was in more of an accepting mood, so I did not complain about the regular patches where I had to push the bike through the sand against the head wind that still existed.

Vibrant orange morning leaving Sharin Canyon, Kazakhstan / 朝日inカザフスタン(シャリンカンヨン)

The main road however was a different story. Cycling in a different direction meant that I had a tailwind up the small pass across the hills to the plain on the other side. Unfortunately my camera batteries were dead, so I had no opportunity to take pictures of the amazing scenery on the other side of the Sharin Canyon mountain range. The canyon continued on this side of the mountains also, and the road I was on went straight down into it. Imagine a massive plain heading downhill towards a massive cayon in the center of the plain. The canyon and plain are so expansive that you need to turn your head 180 degrees to take it all in.

The mission for today was orginally to get to Kegen, the last substantial town before the border in eastern Kazakhstan. I arrived at a small town on the way at about 11am and asked how many kms till Kegen. The guy I asked held up five fingers and said something in Russian followed by ‘kilometer’. Great, I thought. Only 5km till Kegen where I can get some lunch. 10km later, still no Kegen. I continued up the hefty pass. By 20km I was sure that the helpful guy had either messed his calculations up, or was just trying to be nice to the poor cyclist by making him feel good about being close to his destination.

It was about now when I received another 1000 (money) from a passing car, along with a 750ml bottle of fermented horse’s milk. These Kazakhstanis are a generous bunch, I tell you (the milk I threw away after getting a few kms away). These fellas held up two fingers when I asked about how far away Kegen was. Sweet, only 2kms!

20kms later at 3pm I roll into Kegen. I had finally worked it out. If Kazakhstan people want to say 50km, they will hold up 5 fingers. I really should have got them to write it down.

The road to Kegen was in very good condition and ran through massive wide steppe with locals collecting hay for the winter. Kegen itself presented itself to me on that particular day as a desolate has-been town. Many of the shops were closed, and a cold, dark wind blew through the streets. Locals were out and about wrapped up in warm coats.

My very late lunch was again yummy dumplings in soup, a dish called Permenyi. I had indigestion most of the day, and this seemed to calm it down. After buying some food for the road (two loaves of bread, cheese, sour cream, crab sticks, soup sachets, snickers bars, water), I headed out again towards the border, intent on getting just as close to the border as I could before nightfall. As I left, some local taxi drivers made indications that I should be prepared for some very cold weather and bad road conditions up in the mountains.

The road after Kegen did indeed deteriorate after passing through another very small lonely settlement that had adolescents asking me for cigarettes. The road wasn’t overly bad however, and it was possible to dodge most of the bad potholes with ease. This was helped again by a hefty tailwind.

At 6pm I was just about to set up my tent when I saw in the distance a gate-like structure over the road. According to how far I had come since Kegen, and how far the border was from Kegen according to the map, the border should have been about 15km away. I decided to go and invesigate ayway, and in the end found that it was indeed the border. The border guards also told me “This is a very bad road, you should go over the other border to the west. You will be cold and there is nowhere to stay here.”

I assured them that I had at least two days food and plenty of water, and I was on my way into Kyrgyzstan.

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第40日目 - シャリン カンヨン
August 31st, 2006 | categorizilation: 全カテゴリー, カザフスタン

Distance / 距離: 31.89km
Time / 時間: 3h 57m
Average speed / 平均速度: 8km/h
Distance to date / 今日までの積算距離: 1895.3km


Sharin Canyon, Kazakhstan / カザフスタンのシャリンカンヨン


On the road to Sharin Canyon, Kazakhstan / カザフスタンのシャリンカンヨン

Dark skies on the way to Sharin Canyon, Kazakhstan / 暗い空(カザフスタンのシャリンカンヨン)



Campsite on the way to Sharin Canyon, Kazakhstan / シャリンカンヨンへ行く途中のチャンプ場所(カザフスタン)

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第39日目 - Tasqarasuw町からシャリンカンヨン付近まで(日本語要約)
August 30th, 2006 | categorizilation: 全カテゴリー, カザフスタン

Distance / 距離: 69.93km
Time / 時間: 6h 35m
Average speed / 平均速度: 10.6km/h
Distance to date / 今日までの積算距離: 1863.4km


The Kazkakh’s generosity and desire to make me feel welcome became legendary today. I received:

- A full sized braized cooked chicken
- Four small loaves of bread
- 2700 Koktal, the equivalent of about US$23
- A pair of sunglasses to replace my broken ones

I was also offered two 1.5 litre bottles of mineral water. Those I declined because I already had 3 litres on me. That is not to say that I also declined the other things. It’s just that the ones that offered the chicken, bread, money and sunglasses would hear nothing of it. And they were drinking vodka. Especially the large fellow with his arm around me:

Very generous blokes (at the turn-off for Sharin Canyon, Kazakhstan) / やさしいカザフスタン人たち

I tried last night to sleep in my tent without actually pitching it. Therefore I was woken many times with the mosquito net in my face. The reason for not pitching the tent was because I couldn’t be bothered since it was unlikely to rain, and I just wanted to see what it would be like. Due to the lack of rain through this area, I think a bivy bag would have been more than sufficient. Just something to keep the ants and buzzing mosquitos out.

Being woken by the mosquito net also meant that I was only running on half power today. That was not helped be a gutsy headwind in the afternoon that is still blowing now. Although that same wind did help keep my temerature down in this very barren, desert-like terrain.

Gravel road to Sharin Canyon, Kazakhstan / シャリンカンヨンへ行く砂利道(カザフスタン)

By the way, I do wish now that I had accepted the extra 3 litres of water. I only have 2.5 litres on me now, and I am not sure when I will be able to get more tomorrow. The heat really sucks it out of you…

Massive (on the way to Sharin Canyon, Kazakhstan) / 広い(シャリンカンヨンに行く途中)

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第38日目 - コルゴス町からタスカラス町(Tasqarasuw)まで
August 29th, 2006 | categorizilation: 全カテゴリー, カザフスタン

Distance / 距離: 102.26km
Time / 時間: 5h 52m
Average speed / 平均速度: 17.4km/h
Distance to date / 今日までの積算距離: 1793.4km




Run down rest stop on the way to Tasqarasuw Town, Kazakhstan / 古いレストラン(カザフスタンのTasqarasuw町へ行く途中)


Kazakhstan sunset near Tasqarasuw / カザフスタン夕焼け(Tasqarasuw町の近く)

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第37日目 - カザフスタン、着いたそ!(日本語要約)
August 28th, 2006 | categorizilation: 全カテゴリー, 中国, カザフスタン

Distance / 今日の距離: 3km
Time riding / 乗っている時間: 20m
Time to cross China-Kazakhstan border / 中国・カザフスタンの国境を超えるのにかかった時間: 10h 30m


No joke. It took 10 hours ad 30 minutes (11 hours and 30 minutes if you include the one hour wait before the gates opened) to cross from China to Kazakhstan today. I was let through the gates to the China departure processing buiding at 8am, and walked out of the Kazakhstan customs building at 6:30pm.

It took the longest on the China side. Both sides had very bad crowd management systems in place, and people would all try to cram through the same small gap to get through processing, all at the same time. If people just chilled out and lined up, then I’m sure things would go so much smoother and quicker. The border staff utilised scowls and rude remarks as their method of getting things done which didn’t help much either…

My situation was complicated as I had a big clumsy bicycle to contend with, which meant that I inevitably ended up at the back of the constant scrum.

Unfortunately cycling the 500m or so from China to Kazakhstan is strictly prohibited, so I also had to endure 2 hours on the bus to cover that 500m. I witnessed the same behaviour amongst the bus drivers as I did the people trying to get out of China. It is is a ‘if you see a gap, go for it, even if there are four other buses also going for it’ behaviour. There was a Kazakhstan border guard directing traffic, however as soon as he let one bus through, the remaining three buses would try to zoom through the one bus sized gap while the guard couldn’t see. Absolute chaos. Once again, if the buses ust lined up orderly, things would have gone so much more smoothly.

Due to the novelty of the utter chaos, the 10 hours did go fairly quickly, and I was euphoric to be on the road in Kazakstan. I only went about 2.5km from the border before turning off the road and riding behind a small hill to set up camp for the night.

Tent site just after the border in Kazakhstan / カザフスタンの国境の近くのキャンプ場所

Just as I was thinking to myself ‘I hope noone comes along’, two guys on horses some galloping by. The younger of the two can speak basic English, so we are able to ascertain that I am from New Zealand and am cycling to England. They take off suitably impressed and return 20 minutes later with a watermelon for me. Fantastic.

So basically, I am just absolutely rapped to be in Kazakhstan. All apprehension has faded, and has been replaced with a sense of freedom for what lies ahead. More of the unknown.

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