Thursday, 16 August 2012

from Aktau to Beyneu

we cycled to a smaller city
looking for lunch. unfriendly person at a Helios gaz station . we had lunch at a small restaurant. two men invited us for tea. the conversation was not funny. they always wanted to know the price of our bikes and then mentioned Hitler several times. it was time to leave this place. we camped close to the oil fields with scorpions in the next morning under my tent.

it was the same boring and bad way as the last days. after 47 km within 4 hours , we stopped at street without any shadow. this makes no fun. then I had again a flat tyre :-( first time at all I had pain in the left leg. at a small restaurant we had some potatoes with meat, for me two beers from KAZ. we were allowed to built out tent on the terrace. a truckdriver from Belarus and one from KAZ invited us for a second dinner. my russian is very poor. if I understood him correctly, so he always transports overweight women to Turkmenistan. strange world ;-). Astrid and me repaired the bicycle of the son from the owner of the restaurant.

we started at 9:30 to Shetpe. only 18 km. on oure way a car from Caspicement a branch of Heidelcement stopped(Heidelberger Cement Company) and we had a short small talk. at 12 we arrived at a small guesthouse glad to relax for one and a half day before going on our tough trip. temperatur 43Celsius.
in Shetpe we found a hostel with a room without AC but with shower . the only hostel but we were glad to spend two nights there. the woman was, wgat else, unfriendly and only interested in our money. we noticed a washing machine and asked for using it. she told us that it is broken. the next day she was using it..... .
well, Shetpe is an ugly village in the desert and most of the people are unfriendly. we were indeed strangers and not guests. this behaviour seems to be common in this region , laughing or smiling seems to be against a law. only the behaviour of young lady from the restaurant was over the average .. we bought some food and relaxed ourselves after three heavy days, knowing that the desert with a gravelled road expects us.

still in Shetpe and we checked our bikes, because Astrid's bike made a strange sound. we met a french couple in their 25-years-old Renault driving to Kirgistan.

we started early but a little bit too late to Beyneu. until today this day was the hardest one on our trip. we cycled 71km on a bad road, which is used by big trucks as well. a gravelled road with sand and stones and high temperature up to 45degrees. high concentration was necessary. another flat tube stopped our trip for half an hour . good possibilty for Astrid to recover herself. she has big problems with the heat. a truckdriver gave us a bottle of water and told us that in 25 kilometers there is small restaurant. 25 km are no fun on this road. but to have the safety to get water we tried to arrive at this small village. We arrived there in the late afternoon. after a good possibility to wash ourselves, and a simple dinner Astrid went to bed. she was extremely exhausted.

during the night Astrid had big problems with her stomach. in the morning she was not able to cycle. we decided not to travel on this day. she slepted the whole day. another cyclist from France bought some water and we had a short conversation. I wrote my diary and supported Amandeli, the 12 years old son of the owner, learning English. during the day several truck drivers from Turkey Russia or Romania came to the small roadhouse . in the evening seven trucks which were on the same ferry "Karabach" arrived. one of the five Turkish trucker lived for twenty years in Ulm, spoke German fluently and transported special goods from Germersheim (Germany, close to Mannheim) to the NATO in Afghanistan... what a crazy meeting in the desert of KAZ.

we woke up at 4:30 got up at 5:00 and started to the next section. this day we cycled only 23 km, avs 6,7, 3h 24. Astrid was still not fit and a very steep hill exhausted us. we stopped at a roadhouse. unbelievable, a very friendly woman offered us delicious food from KAZ. a young bloody truckdriver named me a faschist as he noticed that I am from Germany. well, all the Russians we met in KAZ until
this day, were unfriendly and arrogant. if you greet the Russian truckdrivers no response. a group of Russian motocyclist in a small restaurant: no hello. we got an invitation for a small house from a farmer close to this restaurant; see video.

we got up at 4:30 and wanted to start as early as possible but suddenly a sound from the young dog from the farmer stopped us. he had locked this small dog in his "bathroom". no light too hot and no water. what a idiot! we gave it some water and bread and let the door open. I had some problems with diarrhoe. we started at seven and it was a bad road again. some Turkish truckdriver gave us water and juice.
after 33 km we stopped for a short sleep in the shadow of an old gazstation. after 39 km we finished our trip for this day and had lunch at a small truckstop. I felt not very good so we asked at the local guesthouse for a room. what an unfriendly person! we were again strangers and not guests. it seems that people in the countryside are usually unfriendly, with low IQ and low education. their lessons in history about Germany stopped with WW II, because everyday somebody named Hitler. real boring.
3h40. avs 10,4, total 4510

52 km, 4h47, avs 10,9, total 4562 felt good.we met Paul from Great Britain, who is cycling from Westchina back to his country. funny meeting in the desert. in the evening, as every evening, we stopped at a small restaurant. Astrid explained in russian language and by showing different pictures that she eats no meat. not difficult to understand. two plates with potatoes and meat arrived.... no comment. we camped outside this strange location close to our "lovely road. suddenly a small bus stopped
and three friendly (!) men wanted to know all about us. they offered us water and gave me a beer. they were obviously much more well educated as the rest of this district because one of them tried to speak a little bit English. with our poor Russian language his English we had a funny conversation.

slepted very bad. during the night two truckdrivers from KAZ stopped close to our tents and discussed between each other who we are. I payed high attention for their next steps, but after 15 min they drove away. the current day was the same boring and bad way as the last days. after 47 km within 4 hours , we stopped at another roadhouse. seems to be that in this region of KAZ the percentage of stupid, lazy and unfriendly people is still very high. no fridge, only instand soup and only watching tv and if you ask for something else you disturb them...
we spend the night in a very hot room there.

I am now travelling for four month. I cycled 4653 km, 170 km autostop by trucks in Turkey, 1100km by train from Ankara to Kars in Turkey and 200 km by train from Kuerdemir to Baku in AZ.
I do not miss my old life for one
second ! we do not have fun every day, especially this tough section now in KAZ, very hot, bad road, dust, boring landscape and unfriendly people, but this is real life and adventure. I can not imagine any more to sit in an office, creating dubious balance sheets by order, silly excel sheets and boring presentations with powerpoint; then discussing these fairy tales with a chief executive officer or managing director who do not understand anything from correct accounting or controlling. I am free as a bird:-).
some people think that you have to be rich for doing this kind of travelling. well, honestly the equipment
was not cheap because I bought only highest quality and it is worth every
second. if you cycle along the river Isar or Donau you really do not need this but we have very extreme conditions for a very long time so I do not want to make any compromisses. You can buy cheaper equipment but it will break earlier. the most expensive part of our trip are hotels. camping in a city without a holiday park is not possible and due to robbery not recommended. so in cities we stay in hotels with a good standard and a well working internet access for updating my facebook and blogspot account. I worked for 20 years and I never had luxury life, no expensive cars, no expensive clothes or luxurious holidays every year and no debts, so I have some savings. by the way: no sponsor, too :-)
it works very well with Astrid, sometimes we have a different opinion but we always find a compromise. this day we cycled 44km, 3h 47, avs 11,7. we crossed a bridge and noticed a small river. two men with rifles were walking under the bridge. they were friendly but we decided not to camp there. I do not want to have any discussions during the night with armoured persons. we stayed in a small restaurant, we had some rice, eggs and tea and did our documentation. the family of the restaurant was very friendly. we were guests and not only strangers. tomorrow, after 45 km, we will arrive in Beyneu where we will stay for 4 or 5 days. this is our last bigger city before Uzbekistan; our visa for this country starts on the 24th of August.

we had some tea and cake and started to our last 45 km. after 235 km toughest cycling with heat, gravelled road, potholes and ankle deep dust
we cycled on asphalt. yippieh !! well, 15 km before Beyneu: road construction; the same again. we looked like pigs, just having a bath in the we arrived in Beyneu, we met Manuel and Wiebke from Germany, backpacking from Beyneu to Aktau. hope we keep in touch!
it was now 1pm and very hot. time to look for a hotel or guesthouse for the next six nights. we had luck, in the third one we checked , Michael, the French cyclist, stayed there, too. he helped us to get a comfortable room with a discount, because the woman, was not very cooperative and friendly (what else...).

sleeping and more than three hours in the internet cafe just over the street.
we got the information, that two and four weeks ago there have been two different groups of cyclists from Germany which wanted to cycle the same bad road but had to take the train or switched to autostop due to health problems. so we were glad not to have these bigger problems on this section and we are a little bit proud for passing this challenge.

sleeping and cleaning the bikes.

sleeping and making our documentation. in the afternoon I went to the local hairstylist to cut my very long hair. he was very friendly and now I look like a globetrotter and not like Catweazle ;-) after this urgent event I repaired two tubes.

we slepted again longer, had breakfast and organized our bags. for lunch a delicious stew. on this day tap water was not available again. the two days before it was only for three or four hours but today ten hours. no information from the owner no offerring another possiblity to get water. a similar situation in the internet cafe: I only wanted to make a backup of my pictures from the SD-card to an USB-stick; I demonstrated the guy what
I want to do. he showed me a
computer and disappeared; never have seen him again. of course the USB-ports at the computer did not work; no backups :-( well, we are guests, we behave like guests, we pay our debts and we wanted to be treated like guests, but this stupid and unfriendly behaviour of most of the people in this part of KAZ makes me more and
more angry. never had such a bad experience on our trip like here. honestly I am glad to leave this country in three days and I hope that in UZ the behaviour of the people will be better.

we got up quite early to do our laundry, expecting that tap water will be not available for hours. we did some shopping and noticed a tandem bicycle in front of a cafe. great meeting in the afternoon: Ash and Laura from Australia, cycling from London to Down Under and another couple from France coming from Mongolia on their way back home by camper van. after some cups of tea we showed the Aussies the biggest supermarket in town. hope we met them again because they have the same way as us. they want to cross the border to UZ on the 25th of August. tomorrow we are on our way to UZ. it will take to days. now packing our bags, having dinner and we have to go to bed quite early. we want to get up at 4.30 am. so long !

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