It’s just a border, once drawn by I don’t know who, and yet again I see a difference at the other side. I leave the green fields behind me and end up in a barren landscape with wide views, surrounded by mountains. And it’s hot. It’s almost 40 degrees and there’s little to no shadow. Luckily there are many irrigation canals and I never have to look hard for refreshment.
The best refreshment is in Charyn Canyon (little Death valley they say). I was tipped off to put my tent somewhere next to the water. I’m there just after noon and I’m all alone. I take off all my cloths and take a refreshing bath. I wash all the dust from my cloths and dry them in the sun. This is holiday.
The day after, I ride through more populated area and it’s also much greener. The closer I come to the big city, the busier it gets. It’s still scorching hot and during my ‘lunchbreak’ I decide to hitchhike. Either I’m lucky and I can ride along and be in Almaty the same day, or I’m not lucky but I can spend the hottest part of the day in the shadow.
I’m lucky and a truck driver takes me for 60 km. I ride the other 25 km myself and reach my end destination: Almaty. Back again in a cosmopolitan city with shops and goods. With a bed and a shower. With bicycle shops where Barry gets a new crank and chain. And where I buy a bikini so I don’t have to swim naked in Europe.