Farewell Fuckaz…Back to Russia …I had to leave the country…
So here I am in Omsk, Russia. Fuck. I entered Kaz my head full of dreams and I left like a thief. I found a hotel thank to a biker and I am writing from a PC in Russian only, especially Windows… although it is easier than using my tablet.
Important note: Today is my birthday. Thanks to those who sent emails. As for phone messages, I still didn’t check my French sim card. To celebrate the occasion, I got myself a Gopro
Now, let’s sum up the situation…
Left with Dave from Kostanai to Astana. The trip went well with some pleasant breaks including in the evening .
The GPS worked ok more or less but still with a bad knack for making detours. I think it wasn’t updated for some roads so it indicated to get around. As long as we stuck to the tarred road everything was fine. The breaks were rather fun too.
The arrival in Astana was quite surprising. Judging by the cloudy sky we were expecting to get drenched but no… we found ourselves on a sand storm! Visor up we could not see further than 10 metres. The city was saturated with cars and traffic jams. A real mess. Not really attractive, which what I had expected.
David had located a hotel that the GPS managed to find. Miracle! It was Aka hotel, cheap and simple but with all the necessary comfort. In addition, I could leave my tire and 10l kolpin at reception. A good shower and go to the pub to quench our thirst.
Also in the toilet you could find funny stuff was very surprising when you are at the corner of the wall lol
In the morning I decided to go once again at the immigration center, which didn’t turn out to be easy. I would go round and round for about 1h30 before finally finding the building. A police officer escorted me across to the not so friendly female boss. Just looking at me seemed to piss her off. I handed the paper from the immigration centre and off she went speaking in Russian. I could pick up the world Almaty. The officer translated a bit and went off. As I tried to explain myself the bitch started to speak English saying that, the visa being issued in Almaty, I had to get down there… 1300 km! Then she just shut her window at me.
There I was really pissed off with this bullshit. I decided to go back to the hotel and head off. I had an ultimatum on my immigration paper – leaving before the 13rd and I would never make it. Fed up of riding through kilometres like a criminal. Fed up of this Damocles sword hanging over my head. I wanted to breathe. This bunch of assholes could go fuck themselves, I would spend my holiday elsewhere.
I left at around 1pm giving my email to Dave for news and photos. As we spoke, I was expecting more problems at the frontier… On the way Dave had showed me a declaration of importation form that he had had to fill out at the boarder. Then he had been waiting for 4 hours in the office for it to be validated. Classic, he had no money to buy time… Going through North I had not have to fill out this document or they had forgotten to give it to me. Anyway I would see when at it.
I turned on my GPS and of course… it came back to its former way. No streets, no display whatsoever. The opposite would have been surprising…
Thanks to some policemen’s information, I easily found my way. The motorway was in very good condition and there was even a toll – 100 Tengue, a bargain. I decided to go through Petropavlosk as I thought the road was better. I had to choose at a crossroad but seeing the bumpy road on my right, I headed up north. 900 km to go.
Little break on the way at the police station. Here they tried to rip me off pointing the blank field on my visa papers. It was so blatant I just didn’t give a fuck anymore that they let me go. I was off and this time no break and no food. I needed to go as quickly as I could.
At a petrol station, a Kazak speaking good English stroke up a conversation. Talking about my leaving the country very soon, he apologized for all the heavy bureaucracy that he, himself, disliked. As I saw him later on the motorway waving for me to stop. He asked me to explain the situation in more detail then made a phone call, looked at my immigration paper and read what was written on it:” Must leave the country before July 13th improper visa purpose of visit”…
Well finally I did well to piss off. I think that my trip to Alamaty would have produced nothing apart from a fine and probably an expulsion. I know someone for whom it happened after several years in the country. Before I left the man insisted: “Pay extra care to register according to requirements. They are real assholes”
Eventually crossing the border went smoothly. They didn’t asked for the document. The woman that checked my passport was speaking English properly, questioning me without insisting on facts like my hotel address in Astana.
As I was leaving, she made a sign with her head as if she had realized that I had or could have issues but didn’t add anything.
So after no real difficulty, here I am on the Russian side. My visa allows me to stay 92 days.
I still had more than 150km on the way on the way to Omsk… All the forests paths were muddy, enough to get stuck in with the bike. Hence I decided to go and find a hotel. I stopped 10 min to talk with a guy on a bicycle. Peter was Czech and had undertook a ride to Vladivostok from his home . He was smiling and looked nice.
Finally in Omsk and looking for a hotel, I met a biker with a Vmax. He was called Alex and worked as IT. He would help me find a hotel but before, asked if a small stop in a motorcycle rally did not bother me. Of course not! Some guys we met had sports bike with trail equipment and were taking the central streets like a circuit. After introducing me, I gathered that Alex was talking about hotels with his friends and he finally dropped me at the “tourist hotel”, a large building with secured parking where I spotted 2 raid equipped KTM 690. Some Finnish bikers. I parked my bike just besides. Alex offered to help unload my motorbike, which I refused, and ensured I had a room in the hotel. I asked him for his number as I was planning to take a Sim card made in URSS or CCCP :).
Here I am in my room where I have decided to settle down for 2 days … I need to reflect…
What am I going to do in Russia? …
Here I am in Russia for the rest of my trip and hols… Consequently I will need to change my blog title.
This morning woke up as rain was pouring. At breakfast I met 2 KTM bikers. Those Finnish , Jussy and his friend Juha , were going around the country in full Off Road mode . One of them sold his company and decided to go with his friend, who works in IT, on a trip towards Mongolia. They shared their photos with me. At some stage, they had gone through a mud so thick they could not get it off their tires. They headed off later as I was shopping so I could not say goodbye. They left a little sticker that I put on my bike. The rolling hobo ( http://therollinghobo.com/ )..this is a wonderful website with incredible pictures and full of info
( July 1st 2015..I am still in touch with Jussy by email )
13 July. It is my birthday so I decided to treat myself. In a big shop I took a Russian sim card and looked for a Go Pro. As it wasn’t on sale there, the helpful sales assistant gave me information on how to find one elsewhere. I got on my bike and go… I soon found myself in a rather weird place, looking a bit like some docks but full of companies. I ended up parking in front of one of them. A guy came out. He was speaking English and invited me in his office… a hot chick was there… I gave him a few information and they rang some people. 20 minutes later, they invited me to park the bike inside and the 3 of us set off on his car, a stunning Mercedes. At the shop, they helped me to buy my Go Pro, really nice! Back at the office, he invited me in a shed where were parked some Q5 and other large berlines. Some guys were redesigning them. He offered to leave my motorbike secure at his place and even to use his shed if I ever had any maintenance to do. Great I could need that soon!
After having met Alex, who had helped me out with the hotel the day of my arrival, here was Alexis giving a hand to a total stranger! I am meeting them tomorrow and will invite them for dinner.
Then I spent the afternoon wondering what I could do or where I could go. It was pouring rain so I was thinking of the poor Finnish bikers.
I finally found the reasons for the failure of my GPS. The SD card inside had been moving and got disconnected at times. At least, this is done…
I quickly checked how to get to Altai and even up to Lake Baikal. Tomorrow I am putting that on paper. Distance vs. number of days.
There is a lot of equipment that I won’t need. Russian roads are not as challenging as the one in Kaz I wanted to take. I will check if I can leave some pieces at the hotel and take them back later. Otherwise I will just give them away.
Omsk is a big city with KFC and burger king … which summarizes my thoughts about “adveturous” my trip now…..
No news of Dave who must continue his trip and this don’t surprise me . I feel he saw me as a black cat not well organized . I was in such hurry that I’m not sure he could really read my details I left on the paper…
I feel lucky I have met some people like Alexis and his girlfriend … So far my encounters here are very positive. People are friendly and you feel very welcome!