Mt. Kailash

Mt. Kailash

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Tibetan problems and gathering visas

The regulations on the issue of Tibet Travel Permits are becoming more stringent by the day at the moment. This may or may not cause an issue on this trip. As these things can change with alarming rapidity, it is too early to tell. There is always a "Plan B", it is just that I haven't got one yet! So, it is back to the maps to work out an alternative route should the Tibetan option prove impossible.

Meanwhile, the gathering of visas continues. I went to the Uzbek consulate to find it locked and closed for a national holiday. So, it was off to see the Kyrgyz the next day instead. At first, I thought that it was closed as well as it appeared to be deserted. The visa section is in the basement and even though an outer door was open; it only led to a cupboard sized room with two locked doors leading off it. I knocked on these doors with no reponse; before finally spotting a doorbell outside the outer (open) door. I rang, heard a bit of distant shuffling before a hatch in one of the doors flew open to reveal a slightly startled looking Kyrgyz man. I gave him my application form, cheque and passport and he gave me a collection ticket. I was No.2; although whether I was No.2 that day, week or month wasn't clear.

Anyway, I went back a few days later to find the visa "office" as deserted as before and my passport and visa waiting for me. Easiest, most hassle free visa so far. I think I will like Kyrgystan!

Then went straight on to the Uzbek consulate for visa number four. Much busier than the Kyrgyz (how could it be less?), still only had to wait about half an hour. A word of warning though: turn your phone off before joining the queue! The guy in front of me was, silently, playing a game on his phone (not even texting or phoning). When he got to the front, the woman behind the counter refused to serve him citing a "no phones" sign on the wall. A shouting match ensued, which the guy had no chance of winning; he eventually re-joined the back of the queue with his phone firmly off.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

2 months and counting

OK, the Pegaso has finally been sold. Great bike, had some great trips on it. But all good things............

With some of the cash from the sale; I got this lovely Yacugar shock. Made a surprising amount of difference to the ride. The Ten feels more planted with no more "sitting down" on acceleration. A more lively ride all round! Very happy with it. Scottoiler has also been fitted as has a rad guard from Metal Mule.

I am now looking at adding a 12v power source after which the bike will be more or less ready to go. As will I, with two months (ish) to go before departure, I have started on the visas. Russia and Kazakhstan are done and I will tackle the Uzbeks next week. Always an interesting experience going to consulates to get visas; a chance to get a small, early glimpse of the countries I will be riding through. The Russian experience was surprisingly smooth, organized and efficient, as was the Kazakh. It can all be this easy, surely?

Still haven't actually decided on a route from London to the 'Stans yet. I got chatting to a guy in front of me in the queue at the Kazakh embassy doing a trip from UK to Oz on a KTM690; his attitude was one of not wanting to overplan the whole thing. Good attitude to have; I really don't want a strict itinerary (apart from the China bit which is unavoidable), but a chance to just go with whatever comes up. So, I will probably set off in July with still no real decision made as to which route to take. Just point the bike East and go.......................................