This morning the boys do some preventative maintenance on some of the cars as the border to Kazakhstan doesn’t open until 10:30.
We drive the 2 km to the border and our paperwork is processed with great efficiency. We say farewell to Green with a tear on our eye as she has been a fabulous guide and wonderful company for the past 39 days, we will miss her smiling face and informative talks.
The drive through no mans land to the Kazakhstan border seems to go for kilometres with a very long line of trucks waiting to get into China.
When we arrive we are ushered through some locked gates and told to park outside a very shabby looking building. There is some confusion as to what we should do, the girls line up with passports while the drivers stay with the cars. Then the guys join us and we all go through immigration and the guys then go back to the cars to process the paperwork and get about 5 stamps from different desks. Meanwhile the girls are told to take our bags out of the cars and take them through security where we wait for the guys and the cars to be allowed to pass through. The whole process takes about 2 hours.
We drive into the town of Zarkent where we meet our guides Julie & Constantine & our new China TV camera man, Simon and have a lovely lunch of beef & lamb casserole and bread. We see another Silk Road monument and hopefully it won’t be the last one.
We drive into Chundzha over pretty average bitumen & dirt roads dodging cows, horses & sheep. We meet up with Simon, Tony’s new passenger in Burgundy. While we’re waiting to meet up with Simon, we chat to some locals who are intrigued by us & our cars.
We drive To our overnight stop at Kara Dala Resort that has many different pools that are fed by natural hot springs. Our rooms are like staying on a school camp we have to make our single beds, at least we don’t have bunks.
After a swim in the coolest pool we are served a very tasty dinner of spaghetti in the pool side huts and try the Kazak beer.