Well we’ve left Australia and are now in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
We managed to talk our way out of excess baggage – 85kg in total! We’d never heard of Asiania Airlines before but can highly recommend them as one of the best airlines we’ve flown. It also helped that the flights were half empty and we had a row each to stretch out and sleep. It’s a long way though – almost 24 hours from airport to airport!
On arriving we struck a couple of hiccups though. Firstly it took about 1 1/2 hours to get our visas (no real problems, just a lengthy process). You need an invitation to come here, which some people didn’t have, slowing down the process. But then we went to collect our bags and discovered that one backpack was missing. Despite our attempts, we were not able to trace the bag or even find out when a trace could be done.
We were picked up as planned by the company that is organising to get us to basecamp. They took us to our hotel – don’t think it would even rate a single star but it serves the purpose. We couldn’t see much last night as it was too dark. But looking around this morning, it seems quite leafy and pretty. They even have trams! It’s also much hotter than we expected – our watch reads 32 degrees C in our room.
So anyway, we’re now waiting to be contacted by the company so that we can work out what to do about our missing bag. We may be able to continue onto the next town to start acclimatising at a higher altitude and have the bag brought to us later. Need to buy gas for our stove today and a few other things. All in all not too bad a start – can’t expect things to go perfectly!
Paul & Fiona in Almaty.