Monday May 30th
After a day's rest in Atyrau, on May 23rd Zorbee and I set off for the Kazakhstan - Russia border, which took us a week to reach. I had been dreading this short leg, as it skirted the northern coast of the Caspian Sea and I feared it would be stiflingly hot and we would be plagued by mosquitoes. However no mosquitoes materialised, and the weather was generally very pleasant, as it has been since leaving Kyzlorda.
The main worry was the occasional camel herd, as Zorbee is still very suspicious of them. One night he was completely freaked by the most horrendous strangulated camel groans in the dark - when I asked Baurzhan in the morning what had been going on, I managed to understand with my limited Russian that it involved two camels, but whether they were fighting or mating I am still uncertain. However as a result Zorbee yomped across through the sand dunes for two days. Baurzhan cheerfully suggested if I tied a camel to his tail I would get to London in double quick time.
This morning I reached my aim - the Kazakh/Russian border - and just in time as I fly back to the UK the day after tomorrow! Unfortunately my camera battery ran out as I was riding out of Atyrau, so I was unable to immortalise the moment.
I forgot to say that while we were resting by the side of the road en route, Baurzhan called out that a cyclist was passing, but I was too late to flag down the determined figure that whizzed past. As I suspected, it turned out to be the intrepid British woman Sarah Outen, who is cycling and rowing around the world (in the opposite direction) and who was headed to stay with Rowena and Matt in Atyrau. She is still resting over with them so we have now had the chance to meet up and swap notes.http://www.sarahouten.com/