Kublai Kooks - Mongol Rally 2017
Day 24 - August 8, 2017
Azerbaijan to Azerbaijan
Countries: 22 KMs/Miles:
Breakdowns: 9 Time @ Borders: 26h 31m
Andy hears a rustling in the trees. 'WTF is out there?" Then voices in a language he doesn't understand. All others are asleep or at the very least sweating in their tents. Springing up, he peers though the brush to find a sea of sheep coming towards them. Followed by a herd of water buffalo. "Time to get up lads, weez got company!" This would be the fastest this entire crew had ever assemble the the morning as they packed up and got in there cars. The old farmers amused at their presence and the animals keeping their distance.
On the road they searched for a petrol station. In these parts it wasn't always easy to find as many cars are converted to gas in which a thin tube is connected to this contraption in the boot of the car. (Not really sure how it works, ask John, this writer is still a little sick from the homemade rice wine he was forced to drink last night.) When they did find one, they realized that cash is king here and credit card use would be minimal. And that US currency is widely used, even at a gas station, they would have to be savvy as the exchange rate is negotiable. Just make sure you do it before they start pumping or you will get pumped.
At the gas stop the group of eleven also found breakfast. They entered the huge open air roofed structure that could be described as a banquete facility and were welcomed with open arms. They were celebrities now and they loved it. The service was impecable as they brought out dish after dish of sweet treats, heavily buttered eggs, white stuff, and cherry juice. Their lead server tended to there every need and the manager made a special appearance. The convoy gorged as they prepared to part ways hoping to meet each other again sometime down the road.
At the next fork in the road, Jake would transfer in the U.K. car and they would head to Baku to hopefully take the ferry over the Caspian Sea into Turkmenistan. Hopefully being the key term as many Rally teams have been stuck there for up to eight days as the schedule is irregular and ships have been know to bump these travellers over locals while jacking-up the price. The Kooks just might beat them there by detouring through Iran.
The team headed to the border town of Lankaran where they would spend the night. The Azerbaijani landscape was flat and non descript. Roads spitting up dust at every turn. A pit stop in a small town allowed them to find some car parts and get some much needed cold water. The temperature reached 44C and any water in the car became hot enough to make coffee with in no time flat. Putting your arm outside to redirect air in just made it worse. A/C was non existent at this point so the fellas just had to suffer through it windows open and trudge on.
Pulling into town and off the highway, the noise level in the car quieted enough to notice the noise level on the outside of the car getting worse. Millie was getting sick again and had developed a bad horse cough. Shit. The last thing the boys need before their organized border crossing into Iran the following day was a breakdown. It was 4:30pm when they arrived at their hotel. John went straight to work playing doctor while the others checked in. Taking apart the exhaust manifold, Dr. Souter found it had snapped apart leaving Millie in critical care. There was no way she could make it any further than this. F**K! And being the end of the day, could they even get help?
The guys grilled the thankfully ultra helpful hotel front desk guys for information on where they could find a welder good enough to even want to try to repair this awkward break. With the odds stacked against them but with a hot lead, John and Mikey took off in YACKS, broken part in hand and one of the hotel staff in tow. They drove away with no idea what lay ahead. The rest of the team, feeling useless, helped out by thinking up plan-b scenarios and well, hitting the nearby beach. Not much more they could do at the moment except make use of the bronzing time and cool off.
A garbage truck must have come here to unloaded here was the first thought that ran thought that ran through their heads. One of the dirtiest beaches in memory yet families by the dozens frolicked about seemingly unaware of the filth that lay around them. They headed down as some random dude yelled something or other at them from afar. Ya ya ya, we're from Canada, Australia, US.....and so on and so forth. They were well versed in these questions. On the sand Andy and Joshy geared down quick and raced to the water. Geej and Joel stalling a bit getting the sense that something was a little off. Then off in the distance they saw a cloth barrier and some kind of other area and vaguely make out.....men? Shit, there's only women and children here!This beach is segregated. We're in Muslim country! Stupid gringos.
They scurried out as that guy continued to yell at them. Oh, thats what he's saying... They made there way over the the male only beach and had a very short lived unrefreshing dip. Cutting their feet on the large cement chunks that were hidden under the water. On the return they found John, drenched in sweat but with a smile on his face. With the help of their hotel friend, Hasanli, they found a welder that could do the job. Nice! But he had lost Mikey in the process. No worries mate, he was wandering around looking for the necessary bolt to secure the part back into place and in the meantime he was found by another helpful character who went out of his way to help the Kooks. Azerbaijanis are giving the Turkish a run for their money.
With the sun going down, Joshy and Mikey helped John get Millie up to running speed, Andy fixing the horns, and Joel and Geej doing what they do best, source out chippies and beers, the Kooks we're feeling a sigh of relief. Night fell and they had a late night feast of leftover wedding food at the restaurant next door. Hasanli still by their side. Azerbaijan had been good to them. In the morning they'll head south to Iran. Media has taught them to be scared of this place. But the Kooks? The Kooks ain't scared of nuthin'. End transmission.