Monday, 25 July 2011

Mud, Mud, Not So Glorious Mud.

Sunday May 7th.
I was a bit annoyed on Thursday evening when Bauzhan had seemingly chosen a camp spot right off the road but had not driven down to guide us in - luckily Yolanda spotted him. However the reason become evident when we rode up -- the truck had a puncture and when Bauzhan tried to change the tyre, the jack had sunk into the soft ground so he was completely stuck. But the Kazakhs are nothing if not ingenious, and it was not long before he had constructed a firm base out of sticks ...

...and the new tyre was in place.
In the meantime we set up camp. But unfortunately the truck had chosen to have a puncture by the only tree for miles - slightly worrying when the sky darkened and a huge thunderstorm appeared - very atmospheric, particularly as an eagle had nested in the tree and was swooping around us.

It was not long before we were engulfed by rain, wind, thunder and lightning. Yolanda's tent was swamped and she had to retire to the leaking truck for a sodden night on a camp bed.

The following morning dawned cold and damp and we set off wetly through cloying mud. A cuckoo was optimistically calling in the tree behind us - surely it was not going to try its luck with the eagle's nest?

The frst ten miles clodhopping through clinging mud were very unpleasant and slow going. But at least we could move, unlike a couple of abandoned oil tankers we came across whose drivers had chanced their arm on the earth tracks beside the potholed gravel road we were following at the time. Not a problem in dry weather, but distinctly unwise after heavy rain.

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