The stop-start-stop cycle of visa extensions and applications has been a wearying and frustrating necessity for the BB team in the first half of our journey to Ireland. We’re sick and tired of waiting instead of riding. However, there is nothing much we can do about it. The only alternative would be to jump on a plane and skip altogether the frustrations of Central Asia.
Of course, you’re all dying to see photos of the ‘Stans, and you’d never let us live it down if we skipped an entire region just to save the awful torture of sitting on our collective arses in a succession of nice hostels while embassies and consulates push paper from one side of a desk to the other.
These forced breaks have been very beneficial – allowing each of us a decent chance to rest, recuperate and refuel. This may be more of a good thing than I’d care to admit. Jared ‘tactfully’ compared my post- food poisoning, post-China ribcage to that of a concentration camp escapee. He even beat me up a hill once last week.
In Almaty and Bishkek I’ve been wolfing down as much hearty food as possible to replenish my diminishing reserves. Mr Mitchell, by the way, is doing rather well with his personal weight-loss plan, dropping 8-10kg during our Chinese expedition. Katie, despite eating less than either of us, still frets that she might put on weight during this trip. It must be a girl thing: 7 or 8 hours on the bike is apparently counteracted by the very thought of food, which in itself creates “virtual calories” that weigh upon the mind of the female cyclist.
Anyhow, back to the point of the story. We’re looking forward to the day when we rock up to the Georgian border and get the first of many on-the-spot visas. After that glorious day, the trip will become a case of no more waiting, which may make us a little bit thinner, but also a lot happier .