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After the two days of repair it was a 720 click trip to Semey which is also a fairly large city, but almost in an African style with dusty sidewalks, and no real maintenance, and a disjointed in infrastructure.

On the way to Semey, we found a nice groove of trees where I put the Roses in a tree that OMI gave me for her Dad, Ludwig Bodner. It was quite emotional and even Pete shed a tear.


Roses for Omi's dad who died in the war

The trip to Semey had fantastic scenery with snow capped mountains to the South for most of the trip. It was a 720 km trip and we were tired by the time we arrived.

Coming into town we ended up in a wedding procession and they followed us to the Hotel so that they could have the photos taken with the car and to their surprise found a whole lot of old cars. I got to kiss the young bride, Laura, and was asked to wish her Maxim all of the best by their videographer.


... and Detlev gets to kiss the bride!

After the beer prices at the Intercontinental in Almaty, everybody was buying drinks in the pub and we had a great time with pre-dinner drinks.

Digressing a bit, I was skyping Teresa while sitting on the reception stairs and it is mind boggling that I could sit on the stairs in a city in who really knows where and talk to Teresa in SA using wireless internet and all for FREE nogal!

DAY 20: Once again it was up early this morning but only for a 250 km trip to Tashkent in Usbekistan. Needless to say, the border did not go as smoothly as it could and it took us 2 and a half hours to get through. The name of the game was to stay cool until these guys would realise that it was quicker for them to help us through.

Digressing again, we had an amusing incident when we filled up with fuel on the road yesterday. What happens, is that you pay the amount that you want and that is the amount that goes into the tank. We have always been putting in 7000 Tenge, and this time the pump stopped at 6000. Both of us immediately said that we had given the attendant 7000, and so he stuck his hand in his pocket and took out 6000, Duuuh, this guy was not to know where we are from and before you could bat an eyelid Pete had his hand in the guys pocket looking for the rest of the money. I think this guy sh.... himself, that last thing he expected to happen was that he was going to be frisked searched by two South Africans and before we could even get to the back pocket he was at the machine and punched in the extra 1000.

Anyway, the trip from the border to Tashkent was unbelievable, especially how different two countries can be. There were cotton fields and agriculture all the way on the 60km trip to the city, which was a double lane road, I won't call it a highway.

Tashkent was also a surprise, a huge metropolitan city with excellent roads and buildings with the hustle and bustle of a big city.Once again we were the centre of attraction with the locals, and the car park had to be cordoned off to prevent chaos. Plus, we managed to get in some sightseeing at the local market.Tomorrow (day 20) we start on Book two in our road book and I cannot believe that we have driven more than halfway and have been on the road for 20 days now.

In some ways, it is unfortunate that we are rallying and that we have to continuously keep on moving, as you never know what conditions we are going to be facing you around the corner. But then again it would be almost impossible to spend the time that one would like in every place that we visited, so it boils down to quality and not quantity.That's all for now 22h00, actually 23h00! We have moved back an hour again . We have almost been moving one hour back every second day, which gives an indication how fast we are moving.