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Kazakhstan fast become the land of little luxuries for Team BB- 3 nights in a real apartment, home-cooked dinners, regular food in the supermarkets. A far cry from sleeping in tents in a sun-streaked desert, washing oneself with a parboiled packet of baby-wipes. In fact, I think one or two of us would probably have moved into Almaty if the cost of living were lower and there wasn’t the little matter of 5 time zones worth of kilometers between here and home.

Our last luxury purchase was some cheap cellphones with pre-paid SIM cards, all the better to stay in touch with our nearest and dearest. There is a large electronics shopping mall called ZUM where I found a basic model Nokia for 6,000 Tenge (or approx 22 of your English pounds) Apparently these allow us to roam freely in the ‘Stans on the Beeline network, though I’m sure the calling rates increase exponentially each time we cross a border. To avoid this, and enable more continuous coverage when we hit Europe, we’ll probably be looking for new SIMS for each major country we cross into.

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