Last night Serey (now I am spelling it correctly,) found us the correct globe from local motorspare shop, (yes KTM uses a standard globe,) and it was fitted with the help of Rocky reading the manual while Pie and Tex followed his instructions.image

We went for a long walk looking at the town, our hotel is what Sergey calls Soviet Hotel, (big building with huge facade and grand staircase and a coat-check-in for over a 100 coats,) but it has seen better days and you can only see how grand it must have been 50 years ago.

The town’s buildings all look the same as the buildings in every town, there are residential buildings facing the street with shops on Ground floor, and behind them there are several more buildings who has no street to face and are in the centre of the city block, all inter-connected with alleys and parking. We stayed in buildings like these on the last leg and although they look scary and have these intimidating frontdoors, with a street light above the door, once you enter it is dark and only a worn-out concrete staircase. There are no Body-Corporates and the public areas and outside is neglected, but each owner (after the fall of the Soviet Union the occupants of these flats were given ownership) spends money on up-grading his own flat and new modern kitchens are installed with wooden floors and modern furniture and latest electronic appliances, so dont be fooled by the outside.

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This morning we threw technology at our navigation problem and with our new Russian Data Sim-cards we downloaded Russian maps onto the I-pads, Tex even downloaded the Russian Alphabet.

Armed with all this new maps and oozing with confidence we decided to spend the day on the backroads. Sergey worked out a route going North and then later going East as he warned us about the “swamps” (marshland.) Peens, still angry with his missing painting wanted to spend time alone and he worked out his route which Rocky and I thought would be more exciting than Sergey’s. But when his road turned into a gravel road as we were still leaving town I should have known I chose the wrong person’s route.

His route went East from the start. At first we were on bad farm roads, the. Came the “middle-mannetjie” roads, and then the feilds leading to a bigger road. What we all forgot was that once you get into the sticks there is no 3G, so all the latest maps means nothing unless you are near a town and have signal.

Peens then started navigating using the compass on this GPS, we knew we had to head North/East and then we would reach a proper road somewhere. The roads became worst and then I got my front wheel stuck into a dried mud rut and when I tried to get out the front of the bike “washed out” from under me and I took a nasty tumble. In fact, true to my Drama-Queen tendencies I thought there will be bones sticking through my right arm and I was to afraid to feel my arm at first, (I slammed my right arm and wrist into my screen as I went over the front of the bike,) but as I saw Peens and Rocky ride off into the mud, I realised I had to “man-up” and pick up the bike with my broken arm and ride further.

Rocky gave me some Voltaren and as the day progressed the pain went away and it did not swell-up, so I probably over-reacted?

Peens met some farmers who told us we could not get through on the route we were on and we had to turn around, 2 hours after we started, after traveling 90km’s we were only 20km’s closer to our destination.

We found another road and when we stopped for lunch the ladies of this little “restaurant” posed with us for a photo of a R100-00 note (the place was filled with notes stuck to the wall for good-luck, and I was thinking a R10-00 “good-luck” was enough but Peens wanted more luck so he went for the R100-00 Luck.) She had plenty of Gold-teeth and we only got her to smile with her mouth open after many many photos, ( she kept on smiling with a closed mouth.)

We arrived in the town before Sergey and the American Bikes. They also had an adventuer and got the Toyota stuck on their mud-road. Tex has now e-mailed me some phots and I will try to get them and insert them into a 2nd Blog for today provided I can find out how to do this. i will aslo hear some of their stories tonight and include them later.

Without Sergey finding a hotel was mot easy, I eventualy befriended a local old man and after our “conversation” of sign language he jumped on the back of my bike and directed me to a hotel. While I was looking at the rooms Peens befriended a Russian Biker who, using a translate App, spoke to us and took us to another hotel which was half-price, but very nasty, so we declined, but he drove in front of us and took us all over town.image

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