Camping it up
10th August Russia/Ukraine border
I am sitting here on the road next to TT while we wait in a queue of 40 cars to cross the border from Russia to the Ukraine. The sun is shining and we know from previous experiences with border crossings that we could be in for a long old day. Oh well, at least we can work on our tans.
Last night we camped just outside Rostov-On-Don, which I think is a very funny name for a Russian city. We were stopped by the police 5 times yesterday, which means I have lost my bet. I estimated we would be stopped less than 30 times in Russia and Ants correctly guessed over 30. I think the total now is 34. My prize as the loser is to pose naked in the Yi apron with TT in a public place. The photo will then be posted on this blog- aren’t you all lucky!!!??? Ants, as chief photographer, will try and keep the photo as decent as possible.
Camping was fun, as it has been all three times we have camped on this trip. Although we never end up getting much sleep, being outside in the middle of nowhere with just the birds and bees to keep you company is quite a special experience. Last night there certainly were bees around, because we camped near some beehives in the woods. Poor Ants was stung on her bottom last night and has just been stung again this morning. Up until last night Ants had managed to avoid being stung, whereas I have already been stung four times, including three times in one day. When we drive, TT turns into an incredible insect killer and every day we have to sweep up the detritus of dead bugs. The bee that stung Ants last night was already dead and so it managed to get its own back from the grave. I tried to be sympathetic, but when someone is stung on the bottom it is quite amusing- even Ants saw the funny side.
We ended up having to stay an extra night in Volgograd, because the camera that arrived from England had a problem with its focus. Ants took both cameras to a repair place and literally begged them to see what they could do. To our great relief, camera number 1 with the sounds issues was not as damaged as had been initially thought and they managed to sort the problem out. We were sad to leave Volgograd as we had turned our hotel room into a mini bedsit and had enjoyed relaxing by the Volga or in local cafes.
For once, the drive out of the city was well signposted and we were soon on our way to Rostov. One of our first police stops of the day made me laugh, because the policeman collected coins from China and Mongolia and once we explained about our trip he asked if we had any Chinese coins. We searched through our bum bags and were able to add a 1 Yuan coin to his collection.
Ants has just returned back from an office at the border with some bad news. Apparently they don’t accept credit cards for our Ukrainian insurance and we don’t seem to have enough money. That could mean a 50km trek to the nearest town- bugger!
Problem over- after ferreting around in our respective bum bags we have enough money, with only $0.5 to spare. She also informed me that she has been stung on the bottom again and walked off rubbing her left cheek (that’s the second time today)!
Hopefully next time we write a blog will be when we are in the Crimea, where Ants will be exploring the history of the area and I will be looking at rock formations. I am also on a mission to find a naturist beach in Fox Bay, so that TT can get an all over tan.
One more thing, TT’s spark plugs all seem fine now and she is driving like a dream. I am hugely relieved, because as chief pseudo-mechanic I would have had to start checking inside her carburetor and distributor and these jobs are best left to the pros. Changing the accelerator cable is about as skilled as I get. One more service before England now and we may be able to blag a free tune up from the Daihatsu service station in Germany if we’re lucky. For those that are interested we have now covered 15,370km from BKK. Only about 5000km left before England and hopefully TT will fly into the record books.