Strangest border crossing…completed.
Osh, Kyrgyzstan to Almaty, Kazakhstan
After Osh (Kyrgyzstan, for those of you who’ve forgotten), we were in convoy with Team Karma Kar moving on towards Bishkek. Their car is slow as beans. I thought having Josiah in the car would give them the upper hand..I mean we are carrying a hippo…but no. Their Fiat Panda from 1991 is a slow and steady turtle… well i take that back, the acceleration is really the only thing that is lacking. We put put on slowly through the beautiful mountainous, curvy roads of Kyrgyzstan. Along the way we see another rally car!! Except its heading in the wrong direction??? We flash our lights and honk our horns… We have met one of the 17 teams from the Tajik Rally. From Somewhere, Germany to Dushanbe. These two old Austrian? guys with a shopping cart on their roof are making their way to Dushanbe. We share our battle stories, get a drink of Bud Heavy from the most random bar/cafe on the side of the road and we are one our way again.
Before we know it we are ready for dinner, the sun is about to set and we stop by this tiny кафе, where this stout Kyrgyzstani lady is serving something. We can’t speak Russian or Kyrgyz so after a bit of frustrating communication, she throws up her hands and just motions us into the kitchen, where we then proceeds to pull out different meats from the freezer. The most awesome state of communication is being had here. Just makes me smile thinking back on it. We point to the different types of lamb, chicken, and fillets and hold up our fingers for how many, point to the Yak beer in the fridge and go back to the patio praying for a good meal and hoping for something delicious. It was. The lamb was a bit tough, but with our bellies full, we headed down the road to find a place to camp.
I think this was Attila the Hun staute
We find a place off the road….down and rocky slope…(where i break my sandal)… to a less rocky flat area by a dam and lake. We share some drinks and head to bed.
The next day we trek back up the hill and start making our way towards Bishkek. The Kiwi’s aka Team Karma Kar are spending the day in Bishkek so we part ways with them and cross the border into Kazakhstan while adamantly reminding Marshal NOT to use his Borat voice at passport control. For Marshal, Patrick, and me the border crossing is as smooth as a babies bottom. Pretty much VIP status, a line opens up just for us and closed right behind us. We are in and through in less than 30 minutes…
Josiah on the other hand, just seems to stay true to his natural Filipino time self and takes forever. He is motioned with the car to one line only to be diverted to another. Then diverted to a ‘car search’ where he prompted to give a ‘present’. The situation went a bit like this.
(Car being looked at)
Guard comes over starts rummaging through stuff. “This from America?” Points to self, “Present?”
Josiah shakes his head no.
Another guard comes over, “Its his birthday!” Points to other guard.
Josiah: Umm… No (Shakes head)
Guard grabs Elevate binoculars, “This from America?” Points to self again, “Present?”
Josiah knowing that he isn’t getting out of there without giving a “present” to these border guards… Cigarettes!
Guard: “This from America? Awwww no no no… Tajikistan” (Hands cigarettes back)
Josiah then grabs Elevate monocular and hands it to the guard. “ Present. From America” (They aren’t… they are from Europe..but shhhhh they don’t know)
The guard smiles then gets into the car with Josiah and then the speediest border crossing is enacted. Zip zip zip.. Josiah is handed a piece of paper and writes our VW Polo and our license plate number. It gets stamped and he goes out the gates and hands it to a guard and he’s through the border…
thus completes the strangest border crossing ever....
Went make it to Almaty when its dark and are searching for WIFI and/or a hostel. After a couple gas stations, a bank security guard, and stealing WIFI from “Asia Zing” we make it a hostel…but there are only two bed… face palm. Next! After a bit a driving around and asking a very nice and maybe a bit startled Kazakh young man we make it to Almaty Central Hostel for the best night’s sleep in a hostel to date.