Kazakhstan has been a country of extremes, extreme temperatures, extreme frustration and extreme kindness. The temperature has cooled a little now, I think the hot weather in the UK has probably come across Europe from here. Our frustration is partly that we cannot get our Mongolian visa in Astana and we will have to travel to Almaty 1500km in the wrong direction and back into the heat only to return this way to enter Russia. We were told by several people to check that the Embassy hadnt moved to Astana as many have recently. When we first came here we found the embassy area and asked around, we were told by a policeman that the Mongolian embassy opened on the 8th July and that we should come back then. We went back this morning to where we had been shown and there was a promising looking crowd of people and a long wait. Whilst in the queue I happened to ask a lady that I heard speaking english is this the Mongolian embassy ?
I am glad that I checked because it turned out that it was the new Russian embassy and the Mongolian one is still in Almaty. Ho Hum
This said we have grown to love Kazakhstan despite the fact that its beaurocracy can be infuriating at times its people are amongst the kindest we have met. We have been given food, hospitality,and help from complete strangers who ask nothing in return.
We met Alexander in the street a couple of days ago and since then he has introduced us to his family and friends, given us a guided tour of the city and treated us to dinner in his restaurant all because of a chance meeting when he saw the bike parked up and came to have a look. He also let us use his laptop to organise our pictures and copy the contents of our mobiles to dvd so we can send them home so we should be hopefully be able to add some video to the site once its edited.
Ciao Kev and Karen