We woke up to a cow tripping over one of our guidelines.
Inexplicably we made good distance in the heat, covering 20km by the afternoon, with a few people stopping for photos and to chat, including one car with two guys who stopped a second time later in the afternoon, asking us to join them down the road for fishing and some food. We met up with them (Azat and Bacha) by a stream and got out our groundsheet, and they in turn got out food and drinks and set up a fishing line to watch as we talked. Another car pulled up with a couple of men getting out to wash in the river, and we all sat down until dusk on Google Translate, when the increasing levels of mosquitoes drove them back into their cars and us into hurriedly finding camping. As we all said goodbye they amazingly gave us a cowboy hat and two Kazakh simcards, so that we could keep in contact.
The next day we woke to a kid beating and dragging a sheep violently by the leg past our tent and into a field.
We got to a pleasant village where a man who spoke a bit of English kindly helped us with directions to and through the next couple of towns, and we sat and enjoyed a bit of shade. 15km down the road, we met Azat and Bacha again, who were heading to work and offered to meet us another 15km down the road in 3hrs time for more fishing and food; challenge accepted. Usually a nice thing, we were stopped so many times by people wanting to talk and take photos, and even by police who simply wanted to chat, making the distance even more difficult. 2km off Azat and Bacha drove up, and said they’d meet us at the track entrance (we couldn’t accept a lift). Once there we walked down to a very large river section and spent the evening much like the previous, had quite a good time although Arjun had seriously hurt his feet doing the intense walking to get there.
We were within walking distance of Kyzylorda, and almost as soon as we got on the road Azat and Bacha stopped again on their way to work. The offered us to stay at Azats that night, and aware that Kyzylorda was a days walk away, we said yes. On the road, every second car stopped to chat, all lovely (one older lady even returned out to meet us with cold iced tea and an offer to stay at hers!), but along with Arjuns injured feet made for incredibly slow walking. We did eventually make it, and conveniently Bacha drove past and directed us to a wifi restaurant where we sat and did some essential internet stuff, and also met two English speaking guys, one Kazakh one Chinese, who sat and chatted with us and gave us lots of useful advice about the road ahead. Really nice guys who we unfortunately didn’t get contact details off.
We finished with the internet and met up with Azat and Bacha, returning to Azats house and meeting his mother, wife, children, sister, and two of his dogs, both pitbulls. We were shown to the shower and they washed our clothes for us, providing us with other clothing whilst they dried, and then inside we sat down to a large meal and drinks. Lovely people all of them, though we were a bit bewildered when Azat pulled out his laptop and showed us some videos of his dogs in fighting rings. We then retired outside with more beers until the early hours of the morning, and crashed out on the floor in the dining room.