• Bob Taylor

Musings - Day 11

Day 11 – 6th January 2020

Hey everyone – made it on schedule to Almaty. Thanks for your support. To all the donors and new followers a huge thank you. Things may get a little tricky from tomorrow when I hit China – No Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. Having to use VPN’s (A bit hit and miss) Cheers Bob x

So arrived this morning to get off the bus at -16° C. The trees were completely white. Phone screen had blurred in my pocket as a result of the temperature and I wasn’t able to take pictures. The overnight on the sleeper bus was a terrific experience, in quite hazardous conditions for the driver. Today I checked into a hostel, which is very cheap, extremely clean, but I have to share a bathroom and toilet. I don’t mind though because when I go in, I lock the door. No flies on me matey. As the day has progressed, I have been to purchase another sleeper bus ticket – this time for 27 hours starting at 5am tomorrow. It will get me into China by Wednesday lunchtime. Similar temperatures will be expected although it has reached the heady heights of -2° C this afternoon.

Almaty is a metropolis with huge thoroughfares dissecting it, but like most of the Kazakhstan cities it is dour in presentation. I get the impression that it seems to try hard to get a Canada feel, but for those who know me, they will tell you that I don’t do impressions. It has a great snow-capped backdrop of the Zaleski Alatau, standing tall against the range of Alatau mountains. This was always going to be one of the difficult staging posts for me, due to climate, and its remote infrastructure. For example, the bus tomorrow is the only one all day. The alternative is to wait until Wednesday for the train, which takes ten hours longer and is three times the price.

Having a quiet day today so there is only one incident to report - and it is a medical one. Kazakhstan is a country that expressly forbids the illegal drug Codeine. For us it is used in so many products on our shelves, which makes it really difficult to bring any kinds of treatment in, unless you are absolutely sure of its contents. I made the decision not to bring anything in, purely through not wanting to compromise myself going through borders. However, I have rubbed the skin completely away from my right side little toe. over a week the skin has hardened enough for me to pull it away. It came off quite easily, but it had befriended some other new skin on my toe, that left my foot at the same time as the hard stuff. If this is a smidgen graphic, then my apologies. But the area now without any skin has bled and bled causing an infection, which as most will know can be painful. Not wanting to put too finer point on it, with the project I'm undertaking at the moment, I kinda need my foot. Those of you out there, that have access to ballet manuals will no doubt be rushing to your keyboard to proffer advice. I did go to a pharmacy to get advice from a bilingual chemist, who offered an antiseptic cream to soften the area around the toe. It has been fine, working well, in fact. That was until inadvertently I mistook its small white tube for some travel toothpaste that I carry with me. If I describe the stinging sensation as anything less than operatic then I am not reaching the descriptive notes sought. I did not know whether I was Martha or Arthur, Jerry or Kerry the sensation was so bad. There are everyday lessons in life for us all, as I sat quietly biting a towel.

For those squeamish amongst you look away now

This is only a short blog today as I prepare for the ball breaking journey tomorrow. I have been told that crossing the Chinese land borders can take forever – so wish me luck.

Position: 43°14'22” N 76°56'54”E – Miles completed: 05127

Location: Almaty, Kazakhstan. 21:30 - 6th January 2020 - Journey 11 days 17 hours

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