We leave Nathan, Bishkek and Kyrghzstan. We have to get back in Kazakhstan to get our Chinese visa. Cool, we'll take advantage to see some part of this country we hadn't the opportunity to visit last year. After about twenty kilometers we arrive at the border with Kazakhstan, the cross is easy because fortunately we lined up with the cars. Otherwise the pedestrian path, which is
caged between fences would had been a nightmare with the bikes. It would take at least a couple of hours.
The landscape is always him, Kazakhstan as we remembered it, steppe, just a little bit more grassy here. It's hot, but nothing compared to last August. First day we can do no more than 53 kilometers, and we are tired... and there wasn't even any uphill... chips... to long without cycling.
We camp near the road. This is the only advantage of the steppes, you can put the tent right where you want. Third day, Sunday, just a hundred kilometers from Almaty, also called Apple City. We cycle 80 and hitch-hike 20. The application for a visa can be delivered on Monday morning or Wednesday morning so we would have lost two days if we hadn't arrived on time!
And here we always have only 15 days visa free. We arrive at a hostel in the dark, it's 22.30. The room is tenge 3000 per person
(15 Euros). Quite pricey but we expected that in Almaty...
It 'a luminous city, full of banks, "reptilianity" and huge cars, everything is brand new.
We buy frozen dumplings stuffed with potatoes at the closest "magazin" and smetlana (sour cream) to dress them. They are just good, we take a shower and go to sleep.
Tomorrow morning we have to be at the agency of Serik by 9AM.
We bring everything to Serik, we must leave him the passports and the down payment. Total cost 22 000 tenge per person ($118). He leave us photocopies of passports and a handwritten letter in Russian to be read by the police if we'll asked for documents.
Serik contacts (Chinese visa agent in Almaty):
0077 77 1623 535
Abylai Khan Avenue 34 (corner of Mametova street)
Opening schedule of Chinese consulate in Almaty:
accepting documents: from 9:00 to 11:45
withdrawal: 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Today we sleep here in Almaty, we rest a bit and leave tomorrow, we have these seven days waiting for the green light to the great China. We'll cycle around Almaty to some nearby cool spots: Esik lake and Charyn Canyon.