Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

More Western Russia – near Astrakhan

5th July 2010 by Helen

Wednesday 23 June

Set off nice and early.  Within half an hour stopped by one of the many police checks.  Got papers out ready to go through the ‘documenti’ routine but all they wanted to do was take a photo of us and Landy!!  No documenti requested!!

All going well with Landy.  Helen suffering from some continued Bristol Stool Scale No.7 (result of some dodgy eggs at the hotel yesterday morning). Helen ratty and depressed all day.  Both dehydrated in heat and not eaten properly since the dodgy eggs.  Both finding we are wearing our clothes a bit bigger these days.  Must be the inaccessability of decent tasting chocolate!!

Made it to Astrakhan after some long and tedious driving.  Surprised to find shops still open quite late.

Paul had lost his phone (did I tell you that before?).  Anyway, after some pigeon Russian, sign language, drawings, and help from other customers, we managed to buy a new simless phone.  On to the sim card provider shop only to be told that under no circumstances, under no conditions, no way, no how, not at all, could we ever buy a sim card in Russia unless we are holders of Russian passport!!!!  Email discussions with Natalie had already ascertained that we could not have either a phone or sim card posted to us as it would be confiscated by customs.  Stuck.  Now what? Demoralised.  Try to find Internet cafe to give Natalie the bad news about the sim card purchase when an angel appears.  We can’t tell you any more in order to protect our source but suffice to say that we obtained an illegal sim card that will work in Russia.  We still have to buy new sims in Kazakhstan and Mongolia but we will cross those bridges when we come to them.  Our technology woes already feeling a bit better.

Keeping the map up to date – on the road again

5th July 2010 by Helen

Sorry we’re so behind with the blogs.  Technology and communications problems combined with some mechanical issues and trying to catch up on our schedule to meet our visa dates have meant some very long days on the road.  In order to keep the map updates running OK I’m about to upload some brief blogs, and maybe a couple of photos, just to give a picture of some of the things we have been up to.  At the end Paul will upload his blog summarising our experience so far.

Tuesday 22nd June

On the road again after a long and stressful day in Stavrapol.  Finally got our visa registration done through the hotel.  Lots of confusion.  Landy came out of the garage after being fixed up ready for the next stage of our journey.  Cost a bit more than we would have hoped or liked.  Labour cheaper by the hour but we suspect it took longer because they’d not seen a pre-computerised Landy before.  Both glad to be on the road again. Camped in a layby just past Svetlograd (on route map).

Stationary in Stavropol

22nd June 2010 by Helen

We have taken the opportunity of the hotel in Stavropol to get our registration done (compulsory in Russia and only possible by hotels or residents).  Paul has also taken the opportunity of there being a Land Rover dealership here where we have been able to have some of the extra work done that we did not get a chance to complete before we left.  They were rather amazed by the fact that he had all the spare parts on board.  They were also puzzled by the fact that there is no computer diagnostics as they had never seen a pre-computerised engine before!!  In turn we were amazed by their workshop.  Before they would let Landy in he had to go through the washer to make sure he was nice and sparkly clean.  The showroom is one of a block of about half a dozen showrooms on the outskirts of town.  There are several of these blocks and it seems all the world’s car manufacturers have their own showroom here.  Kinda keeps it all together.  However, what amazed us was that the workshop (which can be seen through the windows at the back of the showroom) is absolutely sparkling clean.  The floor throughout all the showrooms, which interlink with doors, is cleaned by one group of cleaners throughout the day and we saw it mopped several times.  The workshops get the same treatment.  The other thing is that the workshops are open between dealerships and it appears as if there is some shared facilities there too.  Photos to follow.