Jul 12 2008

Dehydrated in the steppe

Published by at 12:02 pm under World Tour 2008

From Aral the road is asphalted again and of relatively good quality and cycling with my recovering shoulder is relatively painless when my hand rests on the handlebar. I only have to be careful when mounting or dismounting the bike because of its weight.

Waiting for the bus
Waiting for the bus

Our first day back in the steppe is very difficult. The heat is intense and we are cycling straight into a strong headwind. There aren’t many cafes between towns and 50km from Baikonur, Olivier (‘petit jedi’, with the trailer) starts to suffer badly from dehydratation. He has a high fever and his muscles go into spasms. We’re stuck in the middle of the steppe with only 1L of warm water between ourselves. We manage to cycle back to a bus stop we saw earlier and start flagging down passing lorries. We are given water but we haven’t seen an empty lorry yet that could take our bikes. After waiting a couple of hours we manage to catch the local bus to Toretam (the city next to the Baikonur space centre which is closed to foreigners). In Toretam we all decide that we’ve had enough of the boring steppe road, and combined with Olivier’s and my own poor health, we choose to take the overnight bus to Shimkent, 700km away.

In Shimkent we begin to think seriously about what to do next. Olivier ‘petit jedi’ must fly back to France in September (work commitments) whereas Olivier ‘rouk’ and myself still have 6 months of freedom left, although limited in this part of the world. From what we heard it is still impossible to obtain a Chinese visa in Central Asia so we are a bit in a dead end. We will probably apply for a one month Kyrgyz visa in Almaty to sample the mountains of this small country that borders China. Afterwards we could fly to a different part of the world or try to cycle back through Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran. I will try the latter option first, which means running after complicated visas in Almaty and Bishkek. If this fails, the only option will be to take an expensive flight from Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. I’d rather cycle!

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Dehydrated in the steppe”

  1. Sylvainon 13 Jul 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Salut Arnaud.

    Content de voir que ton site et de nouveau accessible !
    Que d’émotions fortes, beaucoup pour vous et un peu pour nous quand même quand nous lisons avidement les dernières nouvelles ! Bon courage à vous tous, nous vous suivons à la trace… (je sais, une trace au Kazakhstan peut facilement faire 500 bornes ;-).


  2. Fedson 14 Jul 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Hi Arnie, hope you’re feeling better now and your shoulder is not giving you too much trouble. Sorry to hear about the problems you guys have been having recently, hope the morale is still good though as what you’re experiencing is something amazing and the adventure you’re on is just something out of this world. I really admire you guys and send you lots of love and energy and keep up with the cycling, you are an amazing bunch of guys! I’ve just had a look at the photos you’ve recently posted and it all looks so fantastic!! lots of love, Feds

  3. Richon 26 Jul 2008 at 11:18 am

    Looks like the bus shelter is also the local cattle toilet.

    Hope you have all recovered from the dehydration. Hope you managed to get a Kyrgyz visa, and can cycle there!

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