Distance: 10km (standing)
Gave myself a checklist for today, in descending order of priority:
1. Get advice on/fix bike
2. Get medical supplies for saddle sore
3. Change money
4. Finally replenish toiletries
5. Get food for coming days
6. Get petrol for fuel bottle
The day started on the Internet with a kind of suspended dread while I tried to get to the bottom of the problem. The advice (from Ivanhoe Cycles in Melbourne) was that it was more likely brakes than hub, and I was able to follow instructions with immediate results. The problem remains but is far less acute, though I did have one nervous moment when I accidentally started to bleed the hydraulics and lost all brake temporarily.
News on the saddle sore was not so good. The sore has become even more inflammed and with little prospect of rest it appears that this sore will be my friend for the rest of the trip. I did manage to track down some antibiotics, Betadine and bandages – an interesting exchange in broken Russian. I hope they are in fact antibiotics…
Checked out of my hotel before midday and into an apartment. It was twice the size, double the comfort and half the price. With all other chores completed I turned to money and was devastated to hear that the bank had run out of money. I did a blackmarket deal with a haberdasher – albeit it a lower rate – which involved following her down back alleys to the workshop of a hardware stall to do the exchange. The best part of the day was a short Internet exchange with Sarah – felt strange to be discussing wedding plans from Kyrgyzstan.