Saturday, 9 August 2014


the 'AT house' remains a great place to chill
noun: gaboritis;
  1. to be slow or late about doing something that should be done : to delay doing something until a later time because you do not want to do it, because you are lazy ...
    'The visa is valid for only thirty days so avoid gaboritis if you wish to make the most of it'
The legendary Gabor lives on in his absence.  Jacques recalls fondly how he and Pascal were heading into the mountains while they waited for their Iranian visa.  Gabor demurs because he intends to leave the next day.  Five days later Jacques and Pascal return - he is still here.  We too might have gaboritis.  After endless tinkering with the bicycles I am finally done.  New rear derailleurs, cassettes and chains.  Gayle has new pedals and chainring too.  When I pump up my tyres the rear one won't pass through the brake blocks. On closer inspection my tyre has become a snake, twisting and turning over the rim.  Knackered.  The front one also has a bulge.  They are consigned to the bin.  Luckily Nathan has some spares.  And then Philip also offers us his spare.  Gayle's tyres are still okay even though they've done about 27,000km.  We hum and haw about whether to take an extra spare.  I mean, it's not as if we'll be going to Outer Mongolia is it? Er...........yeah.  

AT House, 8 Novosibirsk, Bishkek
Damien has been resisting any maintanence chores but finally succumbs.  First he has a turn at the 'meditation' stand - Nathan has built his own truing stand from an old front fork.  Then he pulls out Hannah's inflatable mattress to search for the hole that has turned it into an uninflatable.  He uses the bath to search for the hole. Holes. There are twenty of them at the final count.  He lays it into the sun to dry and shakes his head "It looks like they machine-gunned it".

Suzy's high tea
We are blessed to have Suzy here - Gayle begins to call her our Kitchen Goddess.  We eat very very well thanks to her efforts.  One memory I have of staying here in 2008 was sitting around in the evening with the other travellers drinking and swapping stories and of Gayle discovering the joy and pain of vodka and lemonade. (Altogether now, Joy and Pain like sunshine and rain.) Beer only now.  We notice in the supermarket that they sell a Boris Yeltsin brand of vodka.  David looks blankly at us when we remark on it at the guesthouse.  He's young.  Do you know who Boris Yeltsin is? we ask.  "He was a tennis player, wasn't he?"
why play today when you can play tomorrow

Bishkek is a mixed city of Kyrgyz and Russian, although it's rare to see a mixed couple.  Like Osh, the city seems to have no connection with the rest of the country which has a sleepy rural backwater air.  Here in the capital it's all shiny new 4-wheel drives and fast cars dashing around from traffic jam to traffic jam.  The tree-lined streets are a blend of crumbling neglected Soviet-era housing and brand new appartment blocks.  The backstreets have a village feel.  It's not such a bad place to hang out for a while, catch up on stuff and plan ahead while we wait for our Chinese visa.  Initially we asked for the express service but when we go to collect, our passports are not ready.  Never mind, we tell the agent, we can wait two more days.

recording and researching the journey or just catching up on the rugby scores
We hope to catch up with Gabor somewhere on the way to Mongolia, so we really shouldn't be delaying our departure any longer.  It's time to say goodbye to Suzy and Dino and Damien and Hannah.  Time to move on. We stay another day.  We have a touch of gaboritis.

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