Woke up early at 6am, looking forward to the day ahead! No food for breakfast again, custard creams will be our substance until we cross the border.
We arrived at the Kazakhstan border at 8am and whisked through without ant problems, we drove through no mans land and arrived at the second Kazakhstan border, little did we know that here is where our problems would begin. The five drivers were told to get out of their vehicles and head of with an official, leaving myself and Richard. He waved us down the hill but with little communication we hadn't got a clue where to go. We followed people into a building where there appeared to be a queue, however the queuing system hasn't quite taken off here yet and before long it was a free for all. We hovered near the back of the pack and smiled nicely at a guard who after waving our passports at him took us straight to the front of the queue. Once inside he asked for money but neither of us had anything apart from a phone, an ipod and a penknife which after seeing the scanning machine I began to regret having in my pocket!
We eventually had our visas stamped and me and Richard were officially out of Kazahkstan and into China. There was no going back for us. We met the others outside and found that we hadn't got the official documentation to allow us to take the cars out of Kazakhstan. The 5 who remained with the cars hadn't had there visas stamped so theoretically they could go back however neither me nor Richard could.
After 2 hours, some hand painting by the friendly guards, picture taking and banter from Chris they let us in, finally relief we were on our way.
We reached the Chinese border a few minutes later and there we remained for the next 5 hours! Red tape, beaurocracy, who knows but I know it was 36 degrees and all our stomachs must have been rumbling! We shared our rations out, a packet of hobnobs, some boiled sweets and filtered some water.
Finally we were let in through the gate only to be stopped again, this time it was for numerous pictures with officials and we were told we would be on the China news. We thought this was it we were in, again we were sadly wrong. The cars were scanned in a gigantic x-ray machine and then we were told the papers wouldn't be ready until some time tomorrow. Huge disappointment for everyone and we begrudgingly set off to a hotel in town.
Whoever invented the shower I think was the greatest person on earth today, bliss!! We all took an hour to relax before our guide took us out for some food. This was the first proper food we had eaten in days and it tasted good until Ivegh showed me the head of what I think was a duck!!
We sampled the night life and wondered to a street where there were numerous food stalls with barbeques; we brought 4 beers and 3 cokes for the price of £2 and deliberated over the day!!
Who knows what tomorrow will bring.....
Melissa Wade, SRP