Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Road to Almatay is paved with Salutes, Mutton, and Cigarettes

I can't begin to explain what an amazing and complex week this has been.

The Mongol Rally lived up to all my expectations this past week, delivering stress, adventure, challenges, comraderie, and hurdles to overcome.

We left Kiev with a sense of purpose, a vision that we'd be crossing kazahkstan in 2 days, and we accomplished just that. We woke up in a sunflower field three hours from the Russian border, and it was simply amazing. The Ukraine has miles and miles of nothing but sunflower fields. In the morning when the sun rises, and the evening when it sets, it's one of the most beautiful things imaginable.

We hit the Russian border and got shook down for about 500 bucks of Bryan's money, and Cloud stepped up and fought for most of it back with a Russian cop who had the idea he'd ran into a couple of rubes. We did our russian stint in 24 hours, sleeping in our car when we'd ran out of energy after meeting two English chaps, who had (like us) no contact with any ralliers in a day or so.

We encountered corrupt cop after corrupt cop, trying to get to Kazahkstan as quickly as possible, and met a few of the Spanish starting teams along the way. It was brilliant.

Eventually, Kazahkstan....(i'm running out of time and the internet lady is waving a pair of scissors at me, so I must flee).

Tomorrow the Kazahk border and beyond.

- Justin


Cananopie said...

Alright! Cloud - good job standing up to the Man in whatever form he comes - even Russian.

Dave said...

Sounds GREAT! (Other than the stresses of dealing with the corrupt authorities - but I guess that's all part of the adventure). I'm looking forward to seeing your photos of the desert, sunflowers, etc. Sorry to hear that Bryan had to return home, but keep pushing onward and document it well with photos for Bryan and the rest of us who can't be there.
---Dave (TARDwear)---

Jens said...

Sunflowers, beautiful. Adventure, ok. Bribing cops, yawn. I only read the whole thing to hear about the mutton. What about the Mutton, Justin?

(Can't wait to see pictures!)

Best Intentions Tea and Travel said...

re: Mutton - It's everywhere, at every rest stop cafe in Kazahkstan. You can't escape it, and you know what? cool by me.