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Out of Asia

The pictures' album of Mamilu

Bologna - Krabi

Bologna - Ao Nang Krabi

  ... with a stop in Kazakhstan

  The logbook

Welcome back dear Virtual friends, are you ready to fry there well suit on your comfortable armchairs of browser?

So enjoy this tasty story and ration out it carefully that it is an affair with greedy flakes

It all began when we met the boys of Frittomisto.
Three of the boys were left Frittomisto Marina Romea with a boat of 7 meters, and in 2 months and a half had reached Krabi, Ao-Nang in Thailand had achieved the mythical Frittomisto villa with its own website 2 pools & jacuzzi, tourist village on the enchanted hill, the exclusive area with beautiful high views over the bay.
Came completely covered with salt.

It was practically impossible, for us old pilots rally Africans, do not plug things, not dream of doing the same route, however, by land, and of course in motion.

So in a few weeks, the dream became a fixed thought, of those who are unable to remove more of your mind and worry day and night, until you realize that what we can do.
And then you begin to realize, first thought: what kind of bike.
Had to be absolutely of the old Honda XR 600R, companions to our many adventures in Africa, unfortunately some of the tragedy, who loved and knew perfectly well, so we started looking for 4 bikes right (because it was certain that we would be in 4 parties) and we started feverishly to prepare.

In parallel, began the study of the trail, the identification of the States to cross, and then the adventure to contact the various embassies in an attempt to obtain entry visas, permits and abroad for non-owners of the means, carnets de pasage issued the CA and the related guarantees issued by our banks, and then the books and international licenses, some vaccinations and so on .. . to become creazy!

We left early for a Saturday morning in August finally relaxed enjoying the constant roar of our 600 which we had excellent relations lengthened; Budapest first stage, which we reached at 7 pm and left the next morning still at dawn, filavano motion and it was a pleasure to the beautiful streets Hungarian, straight and clear. As you enter in Romania, with no major problems with the border police, now the road has changed, becoming full of holes, bumps and gibbosity and reaching the maximum to the first crossing of the Carpathian mountains, in effect separated the straight for a new track motocross.
But for us, with that motion, it was great lust.
To one of the afternoon, between the Carpathian passes, Mauro notes a worrying loss of oil from the head of his 600 and once stopped, from the general discomfort we see the loosening of the head with probable tear of the seal head, we do not have the key dynamometer or a head gasket replacement; around us strange mountain fortresses with suspected manors with strange pointed towers, which remind us with a few thrills to be very close to Transylvania.
Then someone says bad luck, you soon! But no, we are there with the bike already detached from its fairings and its tanks (50 liters which allowed 700 km. Autonomy) that comes with a mesh Java KTM motorbike about 250, 74, maybe 76, and we asks what happened, because some of his close friends there, had in the garage everything we needed, including torque wrench.
With a thread of hope we follow him and once you see the sincerity of our friend, and start work immediately.
Closed the engine, thanked the motorcyclists Rumeni, start almost at sunset with the intention of recovering as much as possible the time lost traveling at night, strong lights lenticular certain that we had mounted below our hulls.
In fact, the headlights were not bad then, but there was nothing to be lit, as the road, with its beautiful back by motocross track, literally disappeared in the dark, as it was devoid of white stripe and reflectors, the Its color was the same as the surrounding land and our headlights illuminated nothing.
At midnight, after a hundred wrong turns and exhausted by the tension of the journey in the dark, we wisely decided to stop for the night in a strange town on top of mountains, yet with a strange old castle towers from worrying pointed out the door , when after many of our insistence someone open, it pierced the silence with a cold crunch.
Strange and suspicious of garlic necklace hung from the walls.
The village was in the dark desert night.
During these trips, the first thing one thinks of the morning when the bike is still there.
They were still there and the sight filled us in good humor.
Let us go then decided to come to Odessa in the Ukraine but have come to the border with Moldova now everything is complex.
Entered in Moldova started the trouble, or rather, not just the trouble, causing a nuisance, which would have accompanied us throughout the remainder of the trip, and the sticky forces former Bolshevik type Vopos - KGB, to which we poor tourist motorcyclists Westerners are not accustomed own.
In fact, Moldova, beyond Ghestapos, already on his own is a country we say, original, great highway, 150 km without a car or a billboard, no one, then hit a trench of stone and crosses the street to Above it a pit 2 meters founded 2, ... and now comes the vopos asking you $ 10, as well as a pittance, and you you're recovering from panic to death with detached double carp derapamento not end up in ditch him look indecisive between rice and crying.
Continuing in a kind of track with barriers and manholes of a meter open, come all'ennesimo instead of blocking, where after having asked to produce all the documents that can not even give a look, after treated with kaghebe up to 2 , $ 5 a head equal to the round, after losing at least an hour, ... 10 meters later (I swear, 10 meters) of vopos with a different color of uniform rifermano us and tell us: "customs", in Russian of course, that does not even know how to say.
Of course it is not used to much to try to make him see that within the Moldovan borders to us were not and that we did not know even that strange country we were to enter, they demanded to see all our documents (with no watch of course) and eventually we had to give them the usual ten dollars.
Lost another hour.
Of these stops we had to suffer a dozen, two worthy of note;
the first,-we stop the KGB and tell us to get into an empty room and a porter's red-hot, where a dozen vopos nap supported with old furniture realsozialism, then one of them pulls out a whole raft of logs and stamps and modules, and finally makes us pay $ 10 for the charge of ecology, (I swear, for the ecology)
the second, still-kaghebe on duty this time we stopped a few steps from the border, really, with Ukraine and asks us well armed, aided by civilians sghignazzanti, green card, where we can see that that strange that the province of Moldova they call their independent state is obviously not in the list of countries covered by insurance: $ 10.
At the border, really, with Ukraine is not doing much better, go out at midnight, after having filled some twenty modules and contromoduli which have all been properly signed and controtimbrati by teams of uniformed and nullafacenti between huge swarms of mosquitoes; Odessa to arrive at 3 in the morning.
The restaurants of the hotels of the East, where we consume shriveled breakfasts, reminiscent of summer camps refectories 50 years by small steps where the summer holidays, numbness in the morning smells, the echoes of chatter in the huge empty room and el'inflessibilità disinterest of the waiter, also a little 'vopos us to return the children.
But in the morning, coffee is the true view of the motorcycle, and that in the past have also free last night.
Padlocks and chains removed, a quick check to oil and ... Tire wear discover that degrade by about one inch every 1,000 km, and it is now clear that prior to entering China and Himalayas address the steps we must find new ones.
We start towards Rostov na Donu, Russia, where we heard a few days before leaving the news that some terrorists had been found dead in a hotel (certainly ours, of course) because they were overturned on him, but seems to be wanting, tubes containing a few bacteria in a stolen Russian military base of infecting and followed a deadly eighty people. A nice little something nice.
Supported by this cheerful thought cross endless hills planted with sunflowers that accompany us throughout the day, an endless sea of green dotted with yellow, which would upset Ligabue, interrupted at intervals of 20 km. monumentali from the dilapidated portals still in style realsozialism, reported that the various inputs of Kolkoz growing areas.
Arrive at the Russian border at sunset and Rostov is only 150 km., But the stamps and stamped customs forms to fill 4 ½ hours, and once in Russia are beginning to find the first niet on petrol and naturally begin to remain on dry, so infected at Rostov arrive at 3 at night at that course where you can not eat anything, and we are lucky to get the keys of the rooms (rooms we booked and paid for by Italy, condition for obtain the entry visa) obtained Cesira which disappears immediately up the stairs with a Busoni format tette dolls from a pipe. We rather go to bed alone and disconnected the phone after the 5th proposal for unspecified forms of cooperation of other local ladies, start the street directly in the corridors, as these young ladies do not seem to want to give up delivering their services.
The next step for Volgograd is short, less than 500 km, yet the immense sea of sunflowers, and at 3 pm we are already in the courtyard of the pre-booked with a general maintenance of our 600 and the local ladies, very organized, since arriving in the yard and start to massage during maintenance. Cesira, while still in dire straits for the dolls of the night before, immediately loses his head and riscompare with 2 slave stumble, in a faux rug Caucasian type.
The hotel apparently realized in the second half dell'800 is still very beautiful and brings evidence of an ancient splendor that recalls the old Russian nobility to Dr. Zivago. The corridors will connect oval and lounges in the style of furniture and carpets is appropriate to the period, although recent copies are made by machine. The lobby lounge and restaurant is really beautiful and well equipped with numerous ladies sun well distributed in all those rooms.
After so long we just have dinner, when we are literally invested almost only guests of the hotel, by a cloud of ladies of all ages absolutely determined to finish. Then rapidly withdrawn in the room, barricade the door, unplugged the phone and amen.
Before sleep we remember that day that there must have been the eclipse of the sun, but not engaged in the guide we had noticed him, then we did not know well what time would be, not even knowing exactly what the local time zone and we We are sleeping a little 'sorry.
Cesira should not be sleeping at all, by occhiaie which had the morning after.
When the sun arose we were already on the road, the stage that day was nearly 900 km and more had to cross the border of Kazakhstan.
The cool of the morning has given way to a hot and muggy day.
Around the landscape was completely changed, the sunflowers had given way to the steppe, an infinite expanse of soil mixed with sand from which emerge sparse bushes, low and hairy.
Continue niet signs at petrol stations and continue, of course, police from $ 10. The last of them to intimidate the police officer, explains course in Russian, something that does not go into our visas and that if we do not move immediately to the immigration of Astrakan to accommodate all risk arrest, and shows us his wrists together in a sweet gesture.
E 'l'a in the afternoon and the temperature is almost 40 degrees inside our suits with boots etc.. negotiation with another vopos tarnishes us and we sfianca and helmets.
Having wandered for Astrakan in search of immigration and after you've found with the help of a taxi driver, we are approached by an official who explains that the situation is serious and that we must follow him in the car with him the other side of town .
There casciano but only partially, and after lengthy negotiations we agree to follow him only in 2, while the other 2 remain with the motorcycle.
At 6 finally return in the afternoon, accompanied by 2 other officers and young people explain to me in a good English-language course as we were deceived, cost only $ 150 from the 500 originally claimed, which was then all things went well because we had saved the passports, held up in a moment of lucidity before the official-fraudster is dissipated away from my 2 friends in the center of an office of a city unknown unknown ... and even motorcycles.
I have 2 young officials tried apologizing to explain that not everyone in Russia were crooks, and that something was changing, or at least they really believed us, and we left thanking them.
My bike and Mauro then began to have trouble turning.
We started with the thought already close to the border with Kazakhstan, which we have reached and passed at 11 pm after the traditional mountain of checks and stamps and forms, and taxes, after having crossed the Volga delta between dunes, swamps and ferries during the as my bike began increasingly to rats.
Atyrau, the city that we had achieved, where our hotel was prepaid, is about 400 km. and just released by the customs in the dark, the road (so to speak) has disappeared, leaving room for a runway indefinite ground and sand, which is strongly deformed by Tir; around the void called steppe.
And here my bike decided to stop.
The temperature was cool and pleasant, and a slight breeze moving the sparse bush around us in silence and in total darkness.
Changed the candle with the help of Mauro (the right person on these occasions), we found that the trouble was of different origin, or stator unit that had parts, and while we prepare the replacement came a huge truck whose driver in a good English informed us that it was dangerous to stop because the area was infested by gangs of escaped from the civil war that Tajikstan looted passers, and has offered to transport them for free at the Atyrau where we advised you to repair safely.
In the cabin were all in 4 Kazakhstan, around the desert steppes in the darkness of which they soon disappeared in front of me surviving the 3 bikes.
When they woke up was the dawn and good truck driver offered me a coffee and a frugal breakfast kiosk for his daughter. I was left to the absolutely refusing my dollars and saying that if I wanted to do something for him, bè, who had come down to Krabi!
I greeted with a hug. In the courtyard there, try the three 600, the engine was still warm.
The hotel, one of Atyrau was conducted inside a former command center the U.S. abandoned after the Gulf War. It was run by Scots who had been inside, a cozy 4-star hotel, from $ 150 / night.
Customers were only technical petroleum Europeans and Americans to explore the nearby land in search of oil, it seems successful.
After a quick consultation we realized the difficult situation, before we had 3 hours of good work to share bikes, and absolutely had to leave Kazakhstan, cross the Uzbekstan, then Kyrgyzstan and into China within three days for which had obtained the visa.
We had before 1500 km of desert to the oasis of Tasauz half way and then Samarkand, was almost beyond China.
We decided to make a group for the repair of motorcycles, and I looking for a truck that will lead to even Tasauz traveling all night, where we could arrive the following morning with the bike in place, the full and relaxed (so to say), ready to continue the journey and in compliance with the visas.
The first truck driver when we announced the journey has gone up by truck and is gone without healthy. The second, a young man and wake up to what we offered up to $ 600, we explained that it earned him the maximum 100 per month, but that he could not do that road in the desert because we were all killed, and maybe not, but sure.
That was the bar area more than the leaked Tajikstan's civil war, many of them were uniformed police, and who even dare to cross the desert at that point was in the convoy, once a week with an escort of armed militants fired on sight.
Now evening, and then tried to take us and the bikes on a train at 10 that evening went from Atyrau and reached Samarkand 2 days and 3 nights later, then still time for our visas.
We then started moving with arms and baggage to find the station in the dark was not so easy to find because there were no alerts.
In its vicinity there was the decline in total going to face incredible tagliagole, drunk etc.. and there was no ticket to be able to buy. The exhausting negotiations with the boss of the station led to a bribe of $ 100 to enter and take the train, but no tickets.
When the train arrived, with 3 hours of delay, the performance was devastating. From totally dark carriages between a swarming out of the shadows and shout imprecations, windows, divelti long, were replaced with sheet metal and cardboard, some iron rods had bent and welded by hand out, which came from arms and legs crushed. Now were born fierce fights among those present on the train and who tried to climb from putting windows without bars. The doors were barricaded from the inside and nothing was open.
Freight wagon no trace.
  We could not take that train.
So we are sadly left the station, beginning to realize that our journey ended there, and that there were no conditions to continue.
Ragazzoni At a tall, sturdy and in uniform with lots of degrees and approached me saying dasfidania I returned the $ 100. I replied sweeps and I embraced as I did with the truck driver.
Outside the station my bike still had problems, more or less like the other engines as being in competition almost did not accept completely the local gas, mixed with water and oil. Before arriving at the moto di Mauro has been turned off, and without stopping I pushed directly to the hotel, where we arrived after midnight to 2, with the visa has expired and very few ideas and confused in the head, and where we met Albert.
Alberto was a geophysical dell'Eni he has assisted and guided in the vicissitudes of days where we had to extend our visa avoiding arrest, find a courier for Italy to bring our bikes, do a deed delegate to one of her friends Kazak-clearance of the four 600 and finally removed from our passports note the entry, then find 4 tickets for the local airline (!) in the direction of Moscow.
A little something from nothing.
Atyrau once called Gurjef, was a huge field of work more or less forced by Stalin wanted in which citizens had been deported by the thousands from all regions of the USSR. In a squalid area of several kilometers sordid barracks stood in ruins and piled in disorder to each other and their drabness is confused with that of the steppe in a hallucinatory continuity.
Was that the area where the depression began that led to the Aral Sea, or what remained of it, for a series of policy choices was wicked diverted the rivers that fed it, and it was gradually draining. Wrecks of boats lay km. away from the bank that continued to retreat.
The soil was composed of a mixture of deadly poisons are not biodegradable, DDT, dioxins, pesticides and all so deadly bandit in the West for years, was carried by rivers and is deposited on the bottom of the lake in layers of several cm when they found out was lifted and carried by the wind into the home and everywhere, for the enjoyment and welfare of citizens.
In the center of Atyrau are the government buildings crumbling call is not a wish to be kind.
Achieved over 50 years, have the stone walls to view the appearance in ruins, the openings for doors and windows out of the rod of reinforced concrete which is welded directly to frame completely rusted iron and adapted by hand which supports the door or window iron or wood, usually frozen in the middle without being able to open or close completely.
Entering the decay and increases in most divisions appear forced and walkways made of iron rod bent and welded from which nuguli of people screaming demanding permits, authorizations, licenses, etc., coming immediately harassed as well. It seems we need permits for everything, and get them is not always easy but must be paid, of course underhand.
Teams vopos thick, or if you prefer kaghebe, infesting the area, in a squalid kind porter's lodge dirty and empty, I counted 8 vopos nullafacenti one of whom yelled arrogant invective from a pertugio citizens who dare to ask.
We wandered in there long until you reach the other side of one of those barriers welded cage, with the same people screaming on both sides, and you do not understand who was in and who out, and those who free a prisoner.
We also had some pleasant time, as that evening that Alberto has invited us to dinner with other Italians, and many Russian and Kazakh girls, and Mauro began an incredible feeling with Svetlana or something like that spoke only in Russian and he Vignola replied that there were some great Duron, and continued so all embracing and a little 'drunk for as long as an hour if she is taken and carried away in the dark.
When we reviewed the morning it was emaciated and pale, with the voice roca and somewhat 'confused.
Valter in 8 days as we had been forced to an iron fasting, and at the of Atyrau was rebuilt, gobble the most incredible things all thoroughly fried, and making 3-4 meals a day from about 12,000 Kalorie each, some with lighter side of salt and others to pure Tabasco, from gargling.
Valter to Atyrau slept with Cesira that after 2 nights it was not more of its complaints (even had them during the day, continuously, really impressive!)
slept naked with his 130 kg. of lard all white and soft as a larva and a night that Cesira could not sleep because of the complaints, a dream began to stifle the pillow, but the dream (not in a dream, but in the sense of desire) could not happen Valter fat because they are sweaty and flaccid would slipped away, then he has developed the situation in a-ma vala that if we do in television zuchètto with all my strength there he stands! -.
To Atyrau, as in almost all former USSR countries, every 100 meters there is a police patrol that stopped everyone, however, and that you pay the toll.
They were used when there was still the regime to maintain the Order Absolute, and now no longer so numerous, the various States can not dismiss him or to avoid riots, not simply the increased salary when their currency is devalued 300% so they are found to earn the equivalent of 10,000 lire a month, and if not then who is going to survive harassment citizens.
Four days later, after waiting 4 hours on the track when the doors closed, air-conditioning turned off, a suspected police go away, Valter in short pants, hams from outside and slippers and all infradito sparnaciato head causes a autotosata with machine tosapecore, and a jet kerosene worrying that emerged from a nearby motor, and a shaky rumorosissimo Tupolef left the track direct Atyrau to Moscow.

I think the most dangerous time of the entire trip.