Getting a relaxed start into the day, we all met the norwegians´ new teammate – Andreas – and got a slow start towards our next campsite near a lake only 250 km away. We enjoyed a final Starbucks coffee and headed off into a simple drive along the perfect Kazak roads.
Just beyond the lake my mother told us to take a right turn to get nearby the lake and set up camp. The roads were precisely what we expected of Kazakstan – Dirty, sandy, with rocks and potholes. We were thrilled to take the air out of our tires and go offroading, much to the delight of the Norwegians – for whilst Gisela took on the track with ease, the small and low riding Micra scraped every rock on the way.
It was atop a hill that we realised we were on the wrong road after all, as we all anticipated the horrible roads in Kazakstan, none of us stopped to think that this country may have put more effort into the roads than wed have thought, instead of travelling down the dirt path, the actual road we were supposed to take was a brand new and perfectly paved country road 300 meters next to us.
We took the cars back to the highway and headed to a supermarket, buying a carbonator and groceries, including a set of walkie talkies to communicate between the two cars. Off began the com-speak and tactical language as myself and the Norwegians infront of us commented on everything passing us.
We took the country road as far as it would carry us along the river, until it became a dirtroad again. We drove between river and the Altyn Emel national park, finally arriving at a small ranger house, where two very kind Kazak rangers told us that we need to go elsewhere to be permitted to drive through the national park, so we turned southwards again, Andreas and I jumping on the roof of the car, and drove down towards the lake.
After a thrilling ride next atop our cars, we finally reached the lake, mastering some minor river crossings in between, and drove on the gravel beach, at which point both of our cars got stuck. Whilst lilly made friends with a family fishing giant Carps on the lake, Halbard and the rest made their way to try and dig the car out. Two Kazaks arrived with theyr SUVs, and got on their way to help us out. The kind men with their families rowed about and tore both Gisela and the micra right out of the sand.
We set up camp, and place the two tents next to one another before getting the chairs and cooking equipment to the beach. Whilst the red moon rose and mirrored the lake, the mosquitoes sucked on our skin, and nikki made a fire, I cooked the pasta, and we all used the time to enjoy a long and hearty dinner followed by the odd beer amidst this beautiful sight.