Day 16 Sat 25th Sept – Usharal to Almaty (Kazakhstan) – 480 km
Update 26/09/10 15.39: Lucky that tomorrow is a rest day as Julie has eaten something that has made her ill, which will no doubt increase the 7lbs already lost en route. Having negotiated the sheep massacre the rest of the drive to Almaty was pretty smooth going other than the last few kms between them and the luxury of a hotel which seemed to take forever. The Kazaks in general are very excited about cars and drive like maniacs. They sandwich your car in so they can take pictures by overtaking and then braking. When you have been driving for 10 hours plus and have brakes that don’t work properly this degree of admiration can become somewhat taxing!
Finally arrived at the Intercontinental Hotel and in the joy of impending luxury Julie rushed into the hotel and was promptly instructed by a member of staff to take a different route to avoid walking through a hall being used as a coffee break space for a conference. Maybe not unreasonable considering her clothes had served as pyjamas, she was covered in dirt from head to toe and was sporting a particularly fetching Worsel Gummidge hairstyle!
They have 3 nights and 2 full days of rest in Almaty – rest meaning visits to the garage to join the queue of other P2P participants waiting for some attention for Tim while Julie will be sorting through all of their stuff and doing the laundry. She says that the hotel is such a rip off that the prices are leaving a bad taste in their mouths – $US 30 for a a gin and tonic!
Julie says Tim is doing an amazing job despite the rally being much tougher than he expected. There are only 80 cars are still up and running so good old Benson is doing them proud. Julie puts it down to all of the long hours Tim put in during the two years prior to the rally making sure that the he was ready.
Julie says “We are on day 16! It is amazing. Each days seems very long but overall time is flying”.
Horse stew and minced lamb.
Hello readers. Tim and Julie’s brother in law Will here, reporting in. Apologies for the lateness of this update.
Our intrepid adventurers spent the night last night camping alongside the main road in Usharal. Not the most relaxing of spots, but after a delicious dinner of something that claimed to be beef stew but which was far more likely to contain horse, they nevertheless managed to get a decent nights sleep.
An eventful journey to Almaty today, which very nearly took a nasty turn when a car overtaking Benson had a close encounter with a flock of sheep that had chosen an inopportune moment to cross the road. By the sounds of it, the sheep definitely came out of the experience worse, although the car involved took a nasty dent to the front. I assume the driver will be enjoying his roast lamb dinner tonight!
Suicidal sheep aside, Tim and Julie arrived safely in Almaty, and were able to send us the photo below. We hope for more photos over the next couple of weeks and will post them here for you all to see as and when we get them.