This is a bootleg photo, apologies if it’s not clear. I took it at the border crossing from Kazakhstan back to Russia. I liked the fact that even at the border there’s a sign that says “Good luck”.
If you’re wondering why we were back at the border so quickly, we got stopped by the police just before Petraplovosk. I’d heard stories about travelers being stopped all the time by the police, having to pay bribes before continuing.
In fact I’d heard a lot of stories about KZ from people we’ve met, none of them good! But I didn’t want to form any pre-conceptions. Let’s give the place a fair crack, right?
So the cops are checking documents and asked for insurance. Our Russian insurance didn’t cover us so we had a problem. I said we’d just pay the fine and buy some, but it’s Sunday and nowhere is open. It’s also a bank holiday tomorrow, so we’d have an enforced 3 day layover.
I wasn’t too bothered about that, a bigger problem was that we couldn’t move the bikes until then. We weren’t in a good spot and I was dubious about whether we’d see them again, if we left them there for 3 days!
After a lot of negotiation and haggling, we came to an arrangement. The police would escort us directly out of the country, provided we didn’t stop anywhere. The bonus was we’d cross where we intended, so no back tracking was involved. Sorted!
The police escort was good fun, if a little expensive. I would have liked to at least spent the night there, but from the very little I saw and the great deal I’ve heard – I don’t feel like I’ve missed much!