6th July 2015:
Earlier today Barry and I got called “desperate traveller” by a very nice and very well spoken Kazhah lady at our picnic spot today. …and I guess we are. She was being very nice and amazed that we had driven so far and still a long way to go. We did not speak for long … It was all a bit of rush as a hail storm was setting in and she was trying to get pictures of us and Mollie and get her kids in the car. …but the words stuck in my mind.
Yes we are … we are seemingly “desperate” for taking this adventure on. And having a good time too. Even though we are at present stuck in Almati waiting for part for Pete’s car. We need a clutch release bearing and the clutch re lined. Peugeot here in Almati have been great, but parts for a 504 of 31 year vintage don’t appear overnight and its long weekend.
Barry and I went site seeing on Sunday …even though the weather is a little fickle…. Yesterday was at least 37 degrees …. This morning raining ….we even got hit by a hail storm. But that did not stop us. Almati has large mountain range just to the south. We can see snow covered mountains caps from our hotel window. So we got some directions and advice and headed out … The mountains are topping out at around 4000 m or a little more . But the great thing is that it’s about ½ drive to the up to the chair lift systems to the sky fields. Of course at this time of year it is not sky weather, but along with a few other brave souls we ventured up a series of chair lifts to about 3200 m … I got to through a snow ball and we looked higher up the slopes to the glacier above.
A little lower down the slope we also managed a walk through some alpine meadow … Or just lush alpine grasses …. Needed a little hike in the fresh mountain air.
Almati itself is an interesting city. We are staying in an older part of town, with formal grid pattern, opposite an amazing park with a very ornate Russian Orthodox Church. And just down the road a very large mosque. The city has an amazing green feel. The street trees are large ( a lot of oaks) and very mature and parks equally full of trees. The place has nice feel.
And a few hundred metres from our hotel avery big market…. Called Green Market. It has an amazing array of fresh food and hundreds other stalls and who know what you might find.
And the PT system includes trams, trolly buses and a mix of large and small buses ….plus our other little discovery is they folks here invented Ubar…. Everyone is a potential taxi driver. You just stick your had out as if you where hitching a ride and any car can act as taxi. They stop …you have chat . You say where you want to go …and if driver is going your direction you negotiate a deal and jump in……!!!! It seems to work. We have seen lots people , young and old, male and female ….!!!!
And another thing …. Cross walks and pedestrians are respected . Cars don’t cross in front on people using timed intersection cross walks …. And also cars stop ( often rapidly ) for marked cross walks on busy streets. You have to on your toes as a car driver. This respect for pedestrians was also happening Russia. This is in stark contrast most of Asia.
So yes maybe we are “desperate travellers”. …. And we are all itching to get going again. We have just found out that Clutch release bearing has arrived in Alamti airport, at the Couriers …. Now how do we get our hands on them ….asap and into the car.
Almati and its people have been good for us and we all needed a break … But … We have a few km still to do …so let’s hope we get hold of the parts and the repair is successful and we get going soon.