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Wow As I said time flies. We are already one two three four five six days further.

DAY 12: We arrived at the Mongolian border on our way to Russia, Belekorika, at 07h30 and we eventually got through the border at 14h30 and had a 700km drive and arrived at 11h30 that night.Belekorika is a 'Sun City' type place and we did not see much of it as we had supper at 00h15 and were up and on the road again to the Russian – Kazakhstan Border at 7h30It was a 200km trip to the Border so we were all spread out, and got through the Border quickly (13h30), and were on the road to Semey.Semey is quite big town, but looks old and dilapidated and the Hotel can only be described as interesting. Some people got to stay in the fancy hotel, but I am sure our hotel was due for demolition the next day! The food at the restaurant was local and good.

DAY 14: From there straight off to Ulastria where we had our last night of camping and real fire side camp cooking .The road (tar) to Ulasria was terrible, in fact even worse than some sand roads in Mongolia, and we bounced around in the car like a Disney ride, hoping that our temporary repair on the spring would hold.

DAY 16: Up early again with ice on the tent and from there it was off to Almaty for two days of rest and repair. The closer we got to Almaty the better the roads were and it was an enjoyable drive.The Hotel is top of the market five star and the lap of luxury. The city is dynamic, vibrates and the people are full of enthusiasm. They are friendly and everyone was waving and hooting at us, and giving us the thumbs up. In fact, we have ended up developing a new driving style because everyone comes screaming up behind you and then boxes you in to take pictures on their cell phones, and we have started feeling like celebrities on the road. The first rest day was spent servicing the car and repairing the split rims and we got back to the hotel a 5pm. That evening we were invited out to dinner by a local Rotarian and we had a local dish. Horse meat, which actually was quite good and I would eat it again.

The debate the next day was whether to try repair the spring or do some sightseeing. Somebody said that they could make a spring for us, so off we went to the Nissan – Hyundai garage. The spring was off within a half hour and it was easy working with the correct facilities. We were then assigned a assistant who fancied self a rally driver and we set off at break neck speeds to the people who were going to help us make a new spring.We eventually, ended up at a very interesting place.


At Hyundai to repair the spring

It was the private garage of a collector. There was a hall with at least 40 fully restored cars, but unfortunately the two mechanics (Alexi 1 and Alexi 2) did not want to have any photographs taken.Anyway, it was clear that this was not a spring works and they really wanted to help us and were prepared to cut up a spring to try make one for us. Eventually we convinced them that all this would not be worth all the effort and we ended up rewelding the old one. But this time we had a CO2 welder and Alex 1 was a coded aircraft welder. The spring went back into the car and the visit to the private museum was more interesting than any site seeing.