Day 44 - Almaty, Kazakhstan

Kublai Kooks - Mongol Rally 2017
Day 44 - August 28, 2017
Almaty, Kazakhstan
Countries: 27 KMs/Miles: 15504/9690
Breakdowns: 15 Time @ Borders: 46h 30m

The hostel was located smack bang in the middle of town with a massive westernised mall located just across the road perfect for some breakfast. This part of Almaty was a far cry from the more low key area the Kooks had previously been staying or what had been portrayed in Borat. There were even signs for Burger King and KFC which had been non-existent for a couple of weeks. Their mood was still a little low with the state of the cars and the constant breakdowns.

After the most western feed they’d had in ages they set to work. Mike and Andy headed up to get stuck into some admin work, whilst John and Josh set about taking the front left wheel back off Yacks and determining what was going on with the bloody thing. John was busy dreaming of his garage back in Auchterarder where he had all of his tools laid out and hoists for the cars. He had spent way too many hours sitting and lying on the ground trying to work on these vehicles. To be fair the rest of the Kooks were sick of seeing him taking the wheels off so you can only imagine how he felt.

After tinkering around swapping parts out and reassembling the front half of the car he came to the conclusions that the gear box and the diff were on the way out as well and that was where a lot of the noise was coming from the night before. So Yacks had an engine and a gear box that was on the way out and was realistically a massive car ending breakdown around the corner.

Not looking good the Kooks decided to gather for a serious meeting of the round table over some food. Fairly quickly it was determined that it was time to cut Yacks from the team. The time that had been used up on the vehicle and the time it would take to fix her just wasn’t feasible if the Kooks were going to make it to the finish line before the last day. There had been grand plans to cut Yacks in half when she was going to break down and use her as a trailer but that was going to take even more time that they just didn’t have.

The decision was made and felt like a weight off all of their shoulders. The problem now was how do you get rid of a car in these countries. We knew we couldn’t sell it as it was a left hand drive car, and we also needed to get specific documentation to indicate it had been dealt with appropriately in order for Mike to be able to leave the country. It seemed that none of the other ralliers were able to help and those who had indicated it was a drawn out process. Bugger. Was the best option to drive back to Kyrgyzstan to flick it off!?

After some research it they asked the very helpful guy at the hostel. As with every other hostel we seem to ask for help there was ‘a guy’ who would be able to help us out. Even better he was going to come around in an hour and help us get rid of the thing. The guy ended up being a mechanic for Lexus and didn’t speak a lick of English. He seemed to enjoy talking for 5 minutes at a time with the hostel guy translating it all into a simple sentence. The good news though was that it wasn’t going to cost the earth, the paperwork would be done that day and then the car would be taken away the next day and the final paperwork exchanged. Perfect!

The boys were absolutely pumped to just have progress and all banded together to start stripping the two cars apart and consolidate two cars into one. This is what they were good at – making sh!t happen. Tearing the cars apart and stripping anything they didn’t need it was amazing how much extra baggage they had been carrying. All this going on as two bums smashed vodka and took a surprising interest in Joshy and kangaroos.

The Aussie boys that the Kooks had got on with at the opening party (Karn you good thing) turned up to see what was going on. They had been travelling in a big convoy and offered to take one of the Kooks saving much needed space and weight.

After a big trying day it was time to let off some steam. A bunch of the teams were going to meet down at a nearby pub. It looked more like an American pub rather than a watering hole in Kazakhstan. The beers were flowing and the Kooks tried the local dish of horse meat, talking with all the new faces from the massive convoy. Everyone seemed to have some crazy story to tell which puts your own problems into perspective and makes you realise you’re all in it together.

Buggered and with half a buzz on the Kooks hit the hay with high hopes for getting out of Almaty the next day. End transmission.