Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Already starting to change our plans!

After getting the Russian multi entry visa we applied to the Kazakh visa last week, but the agency turned our application down as, apparently, Kazakh requires Uzbek visa as we are touring by road. So we applied directly to the Uzbek embassy on Monday. Still Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Mongolian visas to sort out. We will get there eventually but it takes time. The Uzbek embassy, for example, is going to keep our passports for 10 days! 10 days!? What the hell?! Regarding the itinerary, my plan is starting to look shaky, and we may not be able to go via Ukraine. Plan B would be to go via Latvia, but it is quite a detour North and it will be a long ride from the border crossing with Russia to the Kazakh border! I still keep hope that we may be able to cross Ukraine, although I do not want to come face to face with Russian tanks! The bikes are now ready, after extensive work (they are 8 and 9 year old). They had never been maintained so it is a testament to how solid and tough they are. We tested them on very muddy green lanes few days ago and they seem to behave. But it is going to take time to get used to the lack of power. However they are so light it will be a massive advantage once we leave Europe and especially Mongolia.
So what next? We want to do a “dry run” with the bikes fully loaded. We are trying to go “minimalist” in term of luggage which is leading me to do some research and experiments on myself! I want to avoid taking liquid shampoo and conditioner. They can leak, are heavy and bulky. I bought Pine Tar Soap which, allegedly, can be used for body and hair, and even for shaving! Well, after washing my hair with it last night I can confirm this is… utter b*llsh*t! My hair was left very tangled and unmanageable, and feeling sticky and matted. Horrible. I applied shampoo and rinsed 4 times, at lunch time at the gym, and it still feels a bit sticky! So, not one of my best ideas. However, I decided to try 2 different specific “shampoo solid bars” see if they are any better. We could do with one soap for body and one for hair! Easier to carry than bottles and would last longer….. worth a try anyway. At least I found a moisturiser that is multipurpose and fairly pleasant: Steamcream. It can be used as day/night/hand and body cream and is not too heavy like nivea for example. I like things that are multipurpose! It fits the spirit of “minimalism”.

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