The next morning, our decision was made for us. We turned on BBC news to see video footage of Iranians burning the Union Jack. Apparently, the British Embassy had been attacked by protesters in response to sanctions. “Death to Britain!” cried the protesters as they set alight to the embassy
“What the hell is going on?” I said to Michael the tenth time. “Not a clue”, replied Michael for the tenth time. We had had no choice but to just sit back and passively accept whatever turn of events was to follow since we’d apparently been arrested as soon as we’d set foot in Aqtobe.
Somewhere on the journey, I think it may have been in Kyzylorda, or some other place that sounds as if someone’s dropped their scrabble tiles, we swapped vehicles and drivers. “Hello I’m Michael. What is your name,” said Michael, as slowly and clearly as he could. Dulad translated for us and
We walked past the mass of other hitchhikers in Korday, and headed up the road towards Taraz. We figured there was no point in trying to compete with the other hitchhikers, because whenever a car pulled over, it was like a scrum, and not speaking the language put us at a severe disadvantage. We walked
I attempted a couple of covert sniffs of my armpit, to assess the damage. I’m ashamed to admit that a pungent aroma assaulted my nostrils. Disgusted, I retched and had to physically shake myself back to my senses.
I knew we were in trouble when the driver started swearing in Kazakh. I don’t speak Kazakh, I didn’t have to. Fear is universal.