Wednesday, 8 August 2018

A mini-adventure ... to Kazakhstan

You know, sometimes I feel a little like a male prostitute ..... there I was, enjoying being back home after working in Belgium, and, having decided I'd made enough money not to work again this year, was determined to just enjoy the summer riding the Tiger. Then, out of the blue an old friend asked if I'd like a job in Kazakstan. I said no, definitely not. Then he said its just for 4 weeks to do a specific job... and I started thinking about that Z900RS I drooled over in my last post.

So, Tuesday morning I caught the 6.30am flight Heathrow to Amsterdam, then transferred to the Air Astana flight to Atyrau. The flight was as bad as I'd expected; old plane, no room between the seats, no on-board entertainment - but at least I got the vegan meal I'd ordered. Funny, but the plane was completely full - of oil workers! Not one Kazhak national to be seen.

Looking out of the window as we came in to land was fairly depressing, just a vast, flat brown desert all the way to the horizon, with a tiny little city, literally in the middle of nowhere. The airport is just a runway with a little hut on it, immigration and baggage reclaim took forever; it was all just as backward as I'd imagined it.

But, big surprise of the day was being dropped off at the hotel, which is a big modern chain hotel with all facilities (they even cater for vegetarian/vegans) - I was imagining some kind of shack based on the places we saw on the ride from the airport.

Then today I went in to the office, which is just across the road from the hotel, to get the next big surprise - I'm not going to be working here, I'm going to be on a camp on the edge of the Caspian sea. I have to take a 2 1/2 hr train ride, then a 1 1/2 hr bus transfer to a camp on a refinery, where I'll be working 12 hour days straight through for 4 weeks. Can't say I'm particularly happy about this, but it's too late now to change my mind.

So, you won't hear from me again until I get home in a month. Hopefully the next post will be me on my new bike :)