Rob Cassibo and his special, extended pages passport. A Canadian teacher from Lake Huron, Rob has been on the bike for 3-1/2 years already! Up to where we met him, he has covered 64,795km and 63 countries across North-South America, Africa, Europe and Asia. He hopes to cycle into China, down South Asia to S.E.Asia and crossing the sea to Australiasia, in order to finish his round-the-world cycling stint.
(Kazakhstan … 10.03.05 to 23.04.05)
With his trusted steed (actually the 2nd frame already) bound for Kyrgzystan. Still riding on Schwabbe’s studded tires, Rob had entered Kazakhstan from Russia, in the middle of freezing -40′C winter, riding through snow fields, long stretches of empty lands and over the Ural mountains. Russian winters have been known to stop Napoleon and the Nazis but Rob overcome it, describing it as one of his most unbelievable feat. Thinking back then, even he could not believe how he survived. Crazy? Impossible? You may not find this in his dictionary! Safe journey to our inspiring fellow cyclist.
Zhambyl, age 9, youngest son of Sagat on his father’s horse. Already a confident rider, he is following his father’s and brother’s footsteps in becoming a jockey. Amateur horse racing is a very popular sports in Kazakhstan, tracing its origins to the Genghis Khan time. In races, prizes range from cars to electronics.
We were introduced to Sagat by Batyrhan from Kenen village. They were good friends from the horse racing circuit for almost 20 years already. When we left Kenen 2 days ago, Batyrhan sketched and explained to us how to find Sagat in Targap village. It was his wife who warmly welcomed us when we arrived that afternoon as Sagat was out, shepherding his sheeps.
Baurzhan’s father, singing and playing the Kazak traditional 2-string instrument, Drumbra. Blessed with warm weather and good roads, we rode 106km to arrive in Alamty in the late afternoon. However, the failed attempt in locating our embassy left us no choice but to seek a roof for the night. Exhaustion and darkness had crept in by the time we met a boy who brought us to his family’s house. It was in this household that we got the rare opportunity to hear the beautiful music from Drumbra. Fate or luck?
12 people, under one roof. With our 1st host, Baurzhan’s family in Almaty. They have come to Almaty 4 years ago from Turkistan (1000km southwest of Almaty) in search of work. Now, some of them are selling fruits and vegetables in bazaars and some working in Korean restaurant. Regardless of the cramped space in their house, they warmly welcomed us in, shared their dinner with us and gave us a comfortable corner for the night.
Alibek, the boy who brought us back to his house for our 1st night in Almaty. The next day, he even guided us, meandering around the chaos Almaty traffic to the main road that would lead us to our embassy.
With Chris and Florence in their apartment over lunch – fried noodles! Our wonderful host during our 3 weeks stay in Almaty. We are stuck in Almaty for such incredible length of time due to the time consuming process of Kazakhstan visa extension and our China and Pakistan visa applications. A Diplomat with the Embassy of Malaysia in Almaty, Chris offered us their place during that period despite been in the process of house moving … they are also returning to Malaysia.