DAY 33: Drove Non-Stop Towards Uzbekistan Border
Even though the bed was as hard as it gets in India, we slept pretty well and i would like to thank the broken suspension and long day on the road. The first thought in my mind was maybe some magic would have happened overnight and when i am going to turn the RR on, the suspension will automatically come back to life. That bubble busted pretty soon, as there was no breakfast in the hotel so we got up, cleaned up and got back to the RR. Put in the key, switched it on and bam .. reality check :-p
My blood group is Ab +ive, so positivity comes naturally to me (i wish i could say the same for Aarti!). Thanking god that the car was still running, we left for the border as we had to get out of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan & Turkmenistan within 07 days including today. We decided to take a pit stop at Beyneu town before we leave Kazakhstan. RR needed a bath as well, so we found a service station and while we were waiting for it to be washed decided to grab some quick local snack from the shop nearby. We entered this shop next to the workshop and it was empty , soon a young girl approached with a smile and the menu.
Ok, before i tell you guys what happened next let me bring ot your notice some peculiar things that had happened ever since we entered Kazakhstan. Almost every time we stopped and interacted with the localities, they spoke with me in English but with Aarti they would talk in the local Kazakh language! It din’t strike me then but after a larger interaction with the workshop guys and ladies inside the restaurant, i could safely say that we found Aarti’s motherland :-p he he
Coming back to the restaurant, that young girl din’t know english and she was accompanied by a lady and they both kept looking at Aarti and smiling. Then they started naming Star Plus Serials i.e. Aanandi etc. and thought that Aarti was the girl playing Aanandi :-p
There were some fun moments in the restaurant, we enjoyed the local food and got the leftovers packed, clicked photos and got out. RR was squeaky clean by then, inquired them where could we get diesel as we wanted to fill our tank and the extra container we were carrying with us as there was no diesel in Uzbekistan.
We reached the gas station but the situation there was pretty grim, on inquiring around one guy agreed to arrange it for us at a premium. We were running out of time (as the next 80+ kms till the border had no road, and with the front suspension not working, we were kind of prepared to be stuck in the middle of nowhere) and had no patience specially after looking at the queue at the station so we took his help and did the top up.
We thanked the guy and started looking for the way to the border. The road was non-existent and was just dust and gravel, luckily it was all leveled otherwise things would have been more difficult. It was pretty much a straight drive except one point where it diverted into two paths and we had to take a pick.
Originally we started going in the wrong direction, realized that, turned around and got onto the right one. Even though it were just 80+ kms but by the time we reached the border it had gone dark and there was a long queue as well. And to top it all, they asked us to empty the whole car, lots of paperwork, get the stuff through scanner, put the stuff back in the car and then move out. Crossing into Uzbekistan was a major milestone because if we wouldn’t had got the visa in time, we would had to cancel the whole trip and fly to India. So, once we were in Uzbekistan it was quite an emotional moment for both of us (even thou you will just see Aarti crying and me trying to console her).
After crossing the border, we decided to grab something to drink and get some local currency. The value of Uzbeki currency is pretty less, and you can get handful of local currency for couple of dollars. While we parked a guy approached offering car insurance and currency exchange. He seemed liked a nice fellow, so i followed him to his office. Got insurance, couple of bundles of local currency and he offered a bottle of coke (was very kind of him).
We exchanged numbers and clicked a photograph before starting for the next milestone i.e. Nukus. It was another 6 hours away and there was no place in between where we could have found a hotel. So, while my sweetheart gave me my favourite pickle on the bread we picked up in Kazakhstan, we continued to drive as there were still many miles before we slept.