17 August, 2012; 00:01
My advance apologies for the quality of this post, but I am running on only a couple hours sleep in the past 36 and have worked up quite the nasty headache; however, I feel as though I’m likely to miss more details of our trip by waiting to record them than by recording them in my less than ideal condition.
I missed one crucial instance on my last entry from our drive to Astana. As we left Qostinay, we had been passing back and forth with a grey VW van. At one point, while we were passing, we noticed him waving his arms with a downward motion, and we thought he was warning us off a known checkpoint and telling us to slow down. A short bit later, he pulled up beside us, and it was instantly obvious that he wanted us to stop. Not seeing any anger in his expression, we complied. He got out of his van and pointed to our rear bumper, sagging periously low off the back of our beleagured Wiz. We mimed our nonchalance about the situation, and, in response, he mimed a screwdriver motion and pointed to the bumper. We shrugged as he went around to the back of his van and returned with tools. Fifteen minutes later, he’d punched a hole in the metal plate behind the bumper and zipped two screws into it. Scratch our bumper off the list of things wrong with our car.
I believe I last left off as we followed team Hard Yak toward Pavlodar. Not much after we found them, we lost them when we stopped in the city for dinner, but, they didn’t make for the best company, so we weren’t too disappointed at the loss. After eating, we moved on toward the border, though we got lost once. Finally, after asking directions at a gas station (a thing we’re getting progressively better at), we made our way to the border.
Unfortunately, my weariness is overcoming my will to continue tonight, so I think I’ll give it a fresh effort tomorrow. We’ve heard stories of 20 or more hours at the Mongolian border, so I expect I’ll have plenty of time.