Day 43 - Almaty, Kazakhstan

Kublai Kooks - Mongol Rally 2017
Day 43 - August 27, 2017
Almaty, Kazakhstan
Countries: 27 KMs/Miles: 15450/9656
Breakdowns: 15 Time @ Borders: 46h 30m

The Kooks headed to the free breakfast pretty chuffed with their choice of place to stay with the biggest car parts mega centre they had come across located only a couple of minutes’ walk from where they were. If they were to find some parts for the car surely it would be here. There had been a lot of talk over the past few days about the McGregor / Mayweather fight but with time starting to run low and plenty of kilometres to do before reaching Mongolia they needed the car fixed ASAP to get back on the road.

The centre aptly named Car City was several stories high and had hundreds of tiny little stalls on every level numbered from 1-300+. It seemed like everything under the sun was sold here and even better, there were plenty of Skoda and VW signs around the place. The first item on the agenda was a bolt for the suspension which had corroded and was no good after replacing the suspension the day before. Searching up and down the corridors and asking everyone in sight the Kooks got sent on a wild goose chase. After an hour of searching they were no closer to finding the part. This was not a good start. Not a single bolt that would be useful!

The Kooks were getting frustrated until they stumbled upon a small shop with a bunch of people hanging around it. It was the fight being played on an illegal stream on a tiny computer screan and the first round was seconds away from starting. Boom! Looks like the Kooks would watch the fight after all. John, who had made his thoughts on wanting McGregor to win very clear, became a boxing expert pointing out that McGregor was definitely winning the first few rounds. With the stream cutting out at times it soon became clear that the fight was swinging Mayweather’s way and it was soon over. Back to work for the Kooks and on the hunt for a god damn bolt.

Trawling the centre they finally found the bolt they were looking for. They also stumbled across a guy who sold Skoda parts and stocked up: Two suspension arms, a new CV joint, and one suspension cylinder. Plus they had found the bolts they needed. Kazakhstan was looking up!!

They didn’t have a piston though which was the thing the Kooks really needed the most. Yacks was a ticking time bomb waiting to happen and who knew how much further she had to go. Another team who had a Skoda Fabia were potentially going to scrap their vehicle so there was hope yet. The Kooks would have to wait and find out the verdict though. This could seriously be an absolute savior.

John and Mike set to work fixing the car while Josh and Andy tried to track down possible parts if we were to get the new pistons. In the blistering sun John was hard at it and proving his worth fixing both cars back to near new (minus Yacks engine). It had been another long day of working on the cars but everything was starting to look up, and the Kooks could even get out that evening and get some kilometres on the board.

The hotel had a sauna room which came complete with a bar, private sauna and pool, and private bedroom, all for $15 for an hour. Ignoring the creepy plow room with the bed, it was too good an opportunity to pass up. It was time to sit back with a beer, realx, and take some time out to reflect on the trying days that had unfolded over the past couple of weeks.

Feeling fresh and quietly proud of their achievements it was time to get back on the road. Pulling out of the car park there was a clunk coming from Yacks. Everyone’s heart sinks a little. It turns out it’s the outer CV joint of the one John had replaced which had come out. Another quick fix it job and we were back on the road. After about 30 minutes on the road and just getting out of town Andy decides there is a noise coming from Yacks again. We pull over and it’s the outer CV joint that has come out again. After slogging his guts out and taking these cars apart for several days straight John finally snaps. This is getting beyond a joke. After a stressed out cigarette he pulls himself and the car back together, but it’s decided that they will disappointedly head back to Almaty and lose at least another day on the road.

After checking into the hostel the Kooks are in need of a beer – stat. Here everyone is a taxi where you just throw your hand out and someone in a normal car will pick you up. Mike was keen to give this a crack and sure enough the third car to drive past pulls over. There were a couple of teams drinking at a pub down the road, and more importantly the boys who were potentially scrapping their Skoda. The teams traded stories of breakdowns, dramas, massive money expenditure, and trying days over a few beers, shots, and some pizza. Everyone was pretty buggered though so it was an early(ish) night for the Kooks to prepare for another day of trying to get these cars back on the road.

The rally is proving to be an emotional rollercoaster. Surely their luck had to change…. End transmission.