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Posts Tagged ‘almaty

06 Oct, 2009

Separate Ways

Posted by: Scott In: The Rally

I scribed the previous entry too soon. I figured that we would have an uneventful departure from Kyrgyzstan on Thursday and that there really wouldn’t be much to say about the process. That was very silly on my part to assume given what we had been through up till then.

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07 Sep, 2009

Almaty: Part Two

Posted by: Scott In: The Rally

The next day our first mission was the find a travel agency. I found one close to the hotel through our Lonely Planet travel bible and proceeded in that direction. However, like half the information in the guide this info was outdated and the travel agency no longer existed, at least in the location listed in the book. No worries though as we passed another travel agency while looking for the first one. We walked into Daphne Travel and asked about available train and flight schedules. Luckily some of the staff there spoke good English, which always makes things a bit easier for us that don’t speak such great Russian/Kazakh. They checked the train schedules online but came up with no additional information that could help us out. As far as flights, there were a number of flights outbound for Almaty but no direct flights to the capital of Mongolia. Apparently nobody ever went to Mongolia, because it was darn hard trying to get from anywhere to there! Our only option was to fly from Almaty to Moscow or Beijing and then take another flight from there to Ulaanbaatar. The cost of these flights would be in the $700-$800 range and they weren’t available anytime soon. Alternately, they had a sub-$500 ticket available on the 4th of September back to London.

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05 Sep, 2009

Almaty: Part One

Posted by: Scott In: The Rally

We slept in on Monday and set off about the city in the early afternoon. We needed to develop a plan of action–we were running out of money and time. We needed to find a way to get to Ulaanbaatar soon. I figured that our best option from here would be to take a train to Russia and then hitch a ride on the Trans-Siberian Express towards Irkutsk and then south to Mongolia. It would take a bit of time, and wouldn’t be inexpensive, but it seemed like a good way to see the scenery in a similar way to what we had hoped to do (and it was less of a cop-out than flying). The problem was that our Russian visas, which still had an additional unused entry on them, expired in two days. We had to head to the Russian Consulate, on the other side of town, to extend our visas.

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04 Sep, 2009

The Taxi

Posted by: Scott In: The Rally

We were at the airport, it was late, and we were planning on taking a bus for the 12km ride to where our hotel was located. Unfortunately all of the buses had ended as it was near midnight. After coming out of customs we were immediately greeted by a man who shook our hand and expected us to follow him. Warning signals immediately went off in my head and I stopped to assess the situation. We changed some money at the currency office and asked the man if there were any buses running. Nope. He and his friend would be happy to drive us to our hotel for s small fee though! Of course. I had read in our Guide to Central Asia book that a taxi to the city center should cost around 2000 tenge or so but private car operators would frequently try and extort 4,000-5,000. I asked him how much it would be to get to where we were going and he replied that it would be 500 tenge (a bit over $3). Having been taken advantage of before and learned a lesson or two about how to deal with cab drivers I reasserted that it was indeed 500 tenge, not dollars, and even typed it on my phone for him to make sure. Sounded like a pretty good deal–who knows, maybe they just needed the money and were undercutting the competition!

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    In the summer of 2009, two guys from Metro Detroit are traveling 10,000 miles from London to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in an effort to raise money to assist underprivileged Mongolian families in becoming self-sufficient.

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