Thursday, 28 July 2011

Hell's Angels?

Wednesday May 11th

A Kazakh Hell's Angel and his moll? No - Yolanda and one of two guys who turned up on a motorbike while we were having a rest on the way to Bayganin. This prompted a photo session with the bike.
The owner of the bike, Assam, turned up again at our campsite in the evening, and we were prevailed upon to hand over 5000 tenge so he could fetch provisions from Bayganin. Just when I was beginning to get concerned that it would be the last we saw of him and our money, he roared back laden with essential supplies of vodka and a Kazakh style takeaway of roast chicken and salads. Cue for a highly convivial and vodka fuelled evening with much recourse to the English/Russian dictionary - the photo shows Assam assiduously studying it, while Bauzhan tucks into the chicken.
We even had a late night visitor on a small horse.....

However the evening turned out to be a little too convivial, as in the vodka fuelled jollity, Bauzhan omitted to stake down the horses, and we discovered they had disappeared into the dark - I just hoped they had not been stolen. Assam roared off on his bike and we could see his headlamp in ever increasing circles on the steppe around us, closely followed by Bauzhan in the truck. As there was nothing we could do, Yolanda and I gave up and retired to our tents.

Morning dawned to reveal no horses, but Bauzhan and Assam snoring in the truck.
Bauzhan was none too happy to be prodded awake from his slumbers, but happily with his eagle eyes he almost immediately saw the horses far away on the horizon and tramped off to fetch them.
It was then that I realised to my horror that when he had driven the truck off to find the horses the previous evening in his rather inebriated state, he had managed to run over one of our precious Free and Easy saddles. Although it showed surprisingly little damage on the face of it, it was definitely flatter than before, and thus unusable. What to do? This meant only one of us could ride. However, Yolanda found out that her daughter had taken ill, and decided to return home on the train from Bayganin, which was only about 10 kms away.

So here I am riding Bolashak and leading Zorbee, while Yolanda opted to walk with me rather than travelling in the truck.

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