05 June – Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan – ~152 miles
A short day, and the first border crossing where we were trusted to do it ourselves. No big group gathering, constant reminders of “keep all the bits of paper they give you” and “right, you’ll need your passport, motorcycle registration, and the bit of paper with the blue stamp from the last time”.
And – it all went smoothly. Buying insurance was rather slow – due to the people involved typing a lot of the requisite information into their system with a single finger. Still – I believe Kyrgyzstan & Kazakhstan are the first places since the Caspian Sea where such paperwork has not been actual “paperwork”… with computers involved. I remember thinking “we’re joking and complaining about all this hand-written bollocks… but I reckon once they are actually doing it into computers, it will take even longer”… and sure enough – yes.
A little bit of paranoia while first riding in Kazakhstan, after being told that if being caught speeding/etc here – the bike could get impounded for a couple of days… and therefore following the locals’ examples when coming across ridiculous speed limits for nothing more than “here’s a bit of downhill road, with some corners – so you should all slow down to 50km/h for 5 kilometres”… but eventually, one gets bored of that.
Arrived safely into Almaty, albeit with a bit of an unscheduled city-tour, as I took a couple of wrong turns… and now checked into our hotel where we stay for an unprecedented 3 nights… while the 3 people who are leaving us here organise bikes-on-planes paperwork, etc. Leaving the rest of us to sample the delights of Almaty, change some air filters, give the bikes a more-than-usual checkover, and probably a massage or two.