Could it be terminal?

5th July 2010 by Helen

Saturday 3rd July

After the punishing 140 km round trip over corrugated roads between Aralsk and Zhalangash (and the ship cemetery), the clanking sound Landy has been making has worsened.  We are now really concerned about the next stage of our trip.  A stop on one of the many roadside ramps (for checking under cars) did not reveal anything.  Paul hanging on the side of Landy while Helen drove did not reveal anything either.  Finally, after a lengthy roadside stop checking virtually every nut and bolt Paul discovered the front shock absorbers had shed their dust sleeves and the top mountings were moving up and down a couple of inches.  Further investigation revealed the workmanship at Land Rover in Stavropol had been less than competent.  Some components had been fitted upside down and some not fitted at all!!DSC_0309

We were still very much a long way from any village or town and with a full day’s mechanical work ahead of him we needed somewhere to park where we had easy access to supplies.  We drove carefully and very slowly for another 50km until we reached a cafe where we could park for the night and Paul could correct the work on the shock absorbers the next day.

While Paul was diagnosing the cause of Landy’s alarming rattle Helen did some housework and removed the bodies of dozens of grasshoppers from the lights and radiator grill.  We had driven through swarms of them earlier in the day.

Realising that after our long day at Aralsk we were running low on drinking water and siezed the opportunity to stop when we saw a sign for a tap.  We were disappointed to find the water both brackish and oily, a result of it seeping up through oil laden strata.  However, this water is all that is available to the local families of the village, and which these children were collecting in containers to take home.  Look closely at the sand beneath their feet and the black crude oil deposit is clearly visible.


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