As first days often are, today wasn’t a lot of fun. My bike arrived late last night – to my relief – and so what I thought would be another forced rest day changed suddenly. I was mobile. I got up early to assemble the bike and realised that it was in rough shape. Someone had ripped a hole in one end of the box and took my toiletries bag, one of my drink bottles and my tool kit. The toiletries bag contained my water purification tablets, sunscreen and zinc – devastating. Luckily a Swedish couple at the hostel had just finished a bike tour and gave me their tool kit.
I got everything loaded on the bike and was on the road by 10am. I was intending to use the Internet to let everyone know that I was mobile but the electricity supply was down and I figured I’d find a terminal down the road. Wrong. I pedalled out of town into the abyss where narry an Internet connection exists. I felt extremely guilty and rued the decision not to go into town and use the Internet before I left.
The riding today was hard and unbelievably hot. Temperatures in Bishkek were 40 degrees and it was more than that in the blazing sun with heat radiating off the bitumen. I stopped off for noodles and horsemeat (laghman – the national dish) to escape the heat of the day. Unfortunately sunburn and heatstroke had already landed making the closing stages of the day very unpleasant. Get up early tomorrow, I told myself.
I found a great little campsite in someone’s backyard. They were working in the garden and they obliged when I asked if I could camp (in bad Russian). It was a real relief as the wind was howling and there wasn’t a lot of tree cover to hide me from unwelcome visitors. I spent the remaining daylight doing a few running repairs to the bike, including fitting the mirror and adjusting seat height/handlebars etc. I feel like I left disorganised and I can only relax once everything is in its rightful place. I hope that as the traffic thins the body will adjust to this heat. The mountains loom large in the distance, and loneliness creeps in as I write myself to sleep…..