Janos Peterdi Photographer

Kazakhstan II.

So, after the nasty fail, we left Lake Aral behind, setting ourselves the target, Almaty. We visited Turkistan, not to be confused with Turkmenistan, a separate country, we are not going there and to the other “stans” now, that have many reasons (visa, do not allow the drone, time). We looked at the mausoleum and the mosque here and then set off to Almaty. Almaty is Kazakhstan’s largest city, with some sights, but overall not so exciting. But above the city are huge snowy mountains and the AO, the Big Almaty Lake, internationally known. Being close to the border, we read that permissionis obligatory, so we stumbled upon the office suggested by the embassy. Well we had to wait a lot. An hour later, they sent us to another office on the kther side of the city (nobody wanted to communicate with us, because we don’t speak Kazakh or Russian) where we came from. Twenty kilometers there, twenty kilometers back, because from there they sent us back to the original place. Two hours of sucks followed, unfortunately I can’t write anything else. The Kazakh bureaucracy is similar to the Hungarian one, they do not know anything, they are not interested in anything, they have not seen a foreigner in their lives, they do not know what to do with them. We tried with several clerks, and after each one we ended up with the jerk, the careless gatekeeper who watched football and said: nyetu. Waiting …

Finally, a man who had his nose punched several times and had his eyebrows sewn together (about 10 stitches – he was a professional boxers) helped us and it turned out, that we don’t need any permission. Well, anyway, we rolled into the mountains, by the lake. The scenery was beautiful and I thought it is worth to take off with Lassie, the drone. It is a pity that a wire caused interference and at the end of the flight I only saw Lassie spinning and falling down to the groind. I ran to the field searching for her.

For half an hour I was dragging down the hillside, searching for Lassie, useless. I hear whistling from the mountainside, Sophie waving from above with a small white thing . Kazakh kids saw where it had fallen and helped find and retrieve it.
The next day we rolled up and after a short border check we drove up to 3200 meters. It was like a long time ago, when we were trying to climb Mont Blanc with a couple of tough guys.
I got a litle sick because of the height so we ended up sunbathing at 3000 meters, Rolling down, another tragic drone action. Once again, a fatal incident occurred during the landing: I descended too fast, causing a whirlwind under the drone, which prevented me from slowing down over the ground, causing the plane to land hard and then immediately rise. I told Sophie to stop her by hand, which is a completely safe way to land. Unfortunately, due to the panic she reached up too high and her fingers entered the blades, cutting off a small piece, ripping it from her fingers.

We tied it up quickly, luckily it wasn’t so bad. Heading to Almaty, we have reached ten thousand kilometers with Crocodile, without fail. We stopped at a Mitsubishi Service for oil change and inspection of the car. The diagnkstics brought aut too many things to replace, and after a thorough discussion it turned out that one was to replace immediately, the rest could wait. So, with a calm heart and a serviced car, we headed east!

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