Friday, August 15, 2008

Traffic stop @ Elista

Yesterday after Dave said goodbye to the Scarlet.


I abandoned him (His Idea) on the edge of Mt. Elbrus and headed strait NE after backtracking about 100km to use highways which for once actually were nice. 

However at upon entry into Elista I was pulled over at the police traffic stop.  Normally I tend to ignore cops but since lately they are all carrying automatic weapons and seem on edge I've been behaving myself.  What started out as a routine stop changed once they saw my passport.  Which if you haven't seen it is rather thick and suspicious looking.  I actually decided earlier in the trip that it was time for me to get a new one to hopefully cut down on transit time at borders.  So he looks at my passport for a minute and continues asking me questions in Russian which I keep just shrugging at and saying "Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Aeroporta, London" to explain my intended route.  Eventually I make a "What's Up" gesture and he points at my watch and says something which I eventually decided was 30 minutes.

Twenty minutes later a suspiciously fit "Immigration" person who spoke fluent English showed up in a taxi.  He asked a bunch of questions about why I was doing the trip, why I had headed south towards Georgia after the conflict started (Thanks Dave), why I traveled so much and then made me explain on each individual visa whether it was a work or leisure trip.  After about 15 minutes of questioning he said "Why does your country lie so much" which for the first time in a long time actually caused me to be speechless as I rained in my instinctive desire to argue politics with him since he actually spoke English.

I declined to respond to him and he let it go and then suggested an excellent restaurant in town. 

The town ended up being a real treat as it was basically little chinaville.  If anyone ever ends up heading for the Kazakh border from Mt. Elbrus I'd highly recommend not going around Elista (The highway skips it) as you'll miss out on a neat little place complete with a Prayer wheel in the Pagoda.


And of course the kids driving around little electric cars was entertaining in and of itself.  Basically everyone walking through got to play dodge kid since half of them had little motor control. 


I continued on to Astrakhan which is on the border to KStan and crashed at one in the morning.  I'm leaving now for the border but I expect a many hour crossing so I'll be happy if I make Atyrau.


Lizzy said...

hey Cy glad to see you are behavıng yourself and keepıng yourself ın the straıght and narrow. so your travellıng by yourself why on earth ıs Lott leavıng!!! (ıs ıt the mountaın clımbıng thıngy?)

Cyrus said...

He really thinks that now is the best time to hang out on the border between russia and georgia...

Alex said...

And make me come down to said border to pick him up...

dlott said...

Pffft going to Elbrus was your idea. Besides, it's my birthday, you've got to pick me up!