curious kazakh boys
I rode swift along the beautiful grassland under the very clear blue sky. The wind pushed me hard, and ive no problem cycling at some 35km/hour with my heavy luggage. The only unnatural sound came from my tyres, the rest were sound of birds, horses and the siberian wind. More eagles flew freely above me, then my eyes fixed at a group of birds flying towards the horizon, leading my eyes towards the snow mountains. I then stopped pedaling, watching the incredible view, then I realized, that I was surrounded by snow mountains. On my right, which was north, was the Alatau mountains. On my left which is south, was the Tian Shan mountains. I was heading west towards Almaty which was some 370km ahead of me. The new chapter of my life has begun, the adventure of Central Asia. Long i have dreamed to explore this part of the world, today Im finally here in Central Asia, welcoming this lonely man that belongs to the proud brown people from the southeast of asia…
ni lah dia rupa budak tak cukup tido…
Kazakhstan is famous for 2 things in my opinion, oil and Borat :) This is the land where oil is cheaper than water, yet another big blank space on the map. Some people never even heard of this country. When i was in facebook chat few days ago, i was chatting with 1 of my ex student. She asked me where am i now. I answered im riding somewhere in Kazakhstan now. She asked again where is Kazakhstan? Is it a state of China? I just smiled in front of my computer screen.
my 1st camping site in Kazakhstan!!
i actually tried hard to look cool in this picture but……….
Suprising, crossing the border at Korgas from China to Kazakhstan was very smooth for me. Many travelers reported on various travel forums on the internet that they have difficulties crossing the border that usually took hours. It took me less than 1/2 hour, 10 minutes on China side and another 10 minutes on Kazakhstan side. After only 20 meters of riding from the border post, a big fat Kazakh man stopped me, shouting at me asking me wether Im from Kitai (China) and I said no. I said Im from Malaysia. His eyes then opened wide and said “Malaysia??? Good… good… Malaysia… Kazakhstan… friend.. friend!!” He then smiled at me and shook my hand. Ive learned that the people here dont really like China. The fat notorious looking Kazakh guy then said “Kitai” (means China) while punching his big fist on his palm, a body language that tells me he hates China. After riding another 2km ahead, I was stopped by a big Kazakhstan army, asking me wether Im a Kitai. Again i said Im Malaysian. He then demanded my passport and smiled after he saw my passport is written “MALAYSIA”. He then said he likes Malaysia, then we had some simple conversation and finally he let me go.
My ride from the border to the centre of Almaty only took me 3 days. I rode fast over 100km daily along the vast plain of Kazakhstan. The road was quite bad but flatland, allowing me to ride over 35km/hour on average. But i had 1 big problem, I didnt have enough cash! There was a town called Zherkent, i thought there were ATM machines there where i can withdraw some cash. When i was there, it was nothing more than a very very small tiny little town. Our “Batang Berjuntai” in Selangor is probably 50 times more advanced than this town. Worried, I then continue my ride to Almaty which was over 300km away, and i only have 6000 Tenge (similar to our 180 ringgos.. eh… ringgit).
preparing to camp!
I repeat… Kazakhstan is insanely expensive, when i was in Zherkent, i bought a bread, 2 bottles of 1.5L mineral water, a redbull and 3 cans of coke and that cost me 1600 Tenge! (RM50). Oh god, now i have 3400T left and im still hungry! The second day i stopped in a small village (dont know what it is called), had lunch (which wasnt so much) and cost me 500T! 2900T left in my pocket. Aww no… no banks until Almaty, i had some chinese yuan but to these people, chinese yuan is just a piece of useless paper and i have some US dollar but they refused to accept it. I was hungry, so on desperate attempt, i then camped near a river (free water supply yay!). I was camping all the way until i reached Almaty and guess what… I made it! Good experience for me, Ive learned the art of not spending money while traveling, I made it to Almaty alive!!! (but I smell like a horse yerk). Good thing i only spent around 3000T in 3 days at one of the most expensive country in the world! Well done me myself!! :)
- setting up my tent, getting ready to enjoy the beautiful sunset :)
elemek… almaty jauh lagi la beb…
But yet, there was another problem! I arrived the busy city of Almaty at night on the 3rd day, tired. It was already dark, banks already closed, i dont even have enough money to even stay in the cheapest hotel available. I then decided not to go to the centre town since it was already dark and from what ive heard, Almaty is quite dangerous at night especially to foreigners, so i went for dinner in a small restaurant. The owner is Uighur and after he looked at my condition and realized that i dont have much money, he let me eat for free! I then asked his permission wether i can sleep outside his restaurant. He said no problem but he warned me it is very cold at night and many dogs here. Ahaaa…. i told him not to worry. Im used to it. With my experience sleeping at the snow mountains alone almost every night and sometimes i heard the sound of wolves, sleeping here at the roadside surrounded by dogs, is defintely nothing for me.