|A herd of horses outside Almaty|
Our route took us north on the road to Astana for about one hundred kilometers before turning on a road that followed the Kurty river. As we drove we saw herds of horses, herds of camels, herds of sheep, and even a llama or two. The road we were following gradually transformed from a road to a pothole riddled obstacle course before finally disintegrating entirely into dirt track. I have heard that this is true of many roads in Kazakhstan, that as you get farther from the city, they deteriorate until there is barely anything left.
|A herd of Camels for Steph|
We drove and drove but failed to find the poppies or the monument. Eventually my friends decided to turn around and we found a spot by a bridge in the village of Akshiy to eat lunch. Fifteen minutes later we were forced to flee our lunch spot just before it was overrun by a large herd of sheep. So we continued on our way back to Almaty.
|A herd of sheep near Akshiy|
Our outing turned to adventure when our car wouldn't start after a brief stop by a picturesque bend in the river. After a few minutes of trying every trick we knew to start a car, we began walking toward a farmhouse that we had seen a few hundred meters down the road.
As we approached the farmhouse two big sheep dogs greeted us with menacing sounding barks. Two men and a young boy were outside the house. I asked if the older one spoke Russian and to my relief, he said he did. I explained that our car wouldn't start and asked if they knew a mechanic nearby. He said that there wasn't but then asked where the car was. and I said that it wasn't far. He went inside for a few minutes and then came back out with the younger man and indicated that we were all to get into his car.
|A picturesque bend in the Kurty River|
|Working on the car|