09-09 Day 61 (A day in Almaty)

More amazing people of Kazakhstan


Travel FromAlmaty, Kazakhstan
Intermediate Location 
Ending LocationAlmaty, Kazakhstan
Starting Odometer32,540
Ending Odometer32,547
Miles Driven Today7 Miles
Total Trip Mileage8004 Miles
Countries visited Today 
Countries visited on trip US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Kazakhstan

BMW Service Day

The BMW dealer

The ride to the dealer started in rain, but the rain had mostly subsided as we arrived. Our arrival time was about 9:00, and once there, we immediately began preparing the bikes for service, and also buying stuff.

In my case, I can’t pass a BMW shop without buying something, so I purchased a bottle of the anti-fog solution that Feroz let me try out yesterday.

The dealership was immaculate, and they were very helpful, as usual, and as we’ve come to expect. Yet another BMW Mottorrad dealer that is exceptional. That’s 5 for 5, including my boys back home in Charlotte.

The Partner service desk

Freerider is the name of the company that we traveled to after we left the BMW service location. Certainly, not covered in gleaming chrome, like the BMW dealer, but we know that these mechanics will get the job done, and we’ll come back tomorrow afternoon to pick up the bikes after the service is completed.

The kindness of strangers

Each day of this trip, I am amazed more and more with how the various peoples of the world treat each other, and how they treat Americans, and also all of my fellow European and Asian travelers. Today, was another example of how some people extend a hand to help, and then go above and beyond, helping make your day easier, and better.

When we finished at the Motorcycle Service center, we needed to get a ride back to the hotel. So, the owner of Freerider, the service company, called a cab for us. He helped us find the cab, and off we went, heading back to the hotel.

As it turned out, our cab driver spoke English, and after butchering his name with my first few attempts, I learned that his name is Rinat, and that he knows an awful lot about the US. More on that later.

Rinat took us to the hotel, and then he and I headed to a local mobile phone store to see if I could purchase a 256 GB SD card, for the camera on my bike. I lost the last card, and it still lives somewhere inside my bike, unless it’s rattled free by now.

As we arrived, Rinat also offered to come in and help me, as it was possible, and maybe likely that the vendors would not speak English. And so, he helped me use the ATM to get cash, helped me find a 256 GB card, negotiated a discount on the card, and on a cable for my iPhone. We ended up spending 26,000 Tenge for all of the stuff, which comes to about $68 USD, a fair price indeed.

I was really impressed by the warmth of Rinat, and by his willingness to help me. So, I asked if he would kindly consent to a video. He said he’d be glad to, so I turned on the camera, and captured a little bit of his warm smile, and helpful ways.

Laundry Day

Riding a motorcycle is a dirty job. You’re always getting pelted with rain, dust, dirt, mud, and sometimes birds, and who knows what else. In addition, we’re always in transition from one hotel to the next, only infrequently spending more than a single day in a hotel. And so, when you’re staying at a hotel for 3 nights, its a great opportunity to do laundry. Today, was such a day.

After getting back to the hotel, I washed my riding pants, which were covered in mud, and because they are mesh pants, the dirt had gotten inside and out. Washing them in the shower was interesting, and as I hosed them down, I could see huge amounts of sediment in the bottom of the shower, But, it took about 30 minutes to wash the pants, some shirts, and a few other things. As soon as these are dry, I’ll do the next load…

Look at this mess…

What will tomorrow bring

Well, with any luck, we’ll have some nice weather, and be able to do alittle sightseeing. We need to meet back in the lobby at 2:30 to arrange cab fair back to Freerider, after which time we’ll come back to the hotel.

We’ll meet in the lobby at 6:30 for a briefing, followed by dinner, and then it’s off to bed, in preparation for departure to our next city, which will be Shonzhy. The day after, we’ll travel into Kyrgyzstan.

About the Author

Cliff Musante

Cliff Musante is a technologist, business leader, motorcycle enthusiast, father, grandfather, and more. In June, 2013 his passion for motorcycles was revitalized, and he set out to ride across Patagonia. Since then, he's logged thousands of miles, ridden across the US, and on July 10, 2019, he began a 120 day trip through Europe, and then on to Russia, China, and parts East. This 'Blog is the story of all of his adventures.


  1. Cliff,
    What happened to the people who could not get their bike into Kazakstan?
    And what happened when you all got pulled over by the local HP? Guess it was ok since you did not end up in the gulag.

    1. Hi Burke, thanks for reminding me about these loose ends. I’ll be covering all of these loose ends in my next post. So, stay tuned…

  2. Cliff

    It is always good to pick up and read of your exploits. I enjoyed the camaraderie you experienced with your engaging taxi driver. Obviously , his talents are not being fully exploited in this part of the world, but what would you expect from a country that was oppressed for some many years?

    1. Hi Zeke,
      Yes, I’m enjoying meeting these new people, and their culture is much different from ours, in so many ways. But, in the end, they largely want the same things that we do, but their ability to see prosperity, in the way that Americans do, is very limited, so they tend to dream smaller. That said, as you’ll see from the upcoming posts and videos, virtually the entire country of Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan are under construction. So, they are trying to break out from the 2nd world, into the first, but considering their lack of awareness of how to build a toilet, it’s going to take a long time.

  3. Hi Cliff – I see you’re staying at the Hotel South Beach (Kyrgyzstan) – photos don’t look like Miami, why is it that the photos of these hotels all seem to have large children’s playgrounds with Shrek or very vivid play structures?
    Really enjoy your post, also the Live Tracking is a great way to keep up with you
    Cheers Chris

    1. Hey Chris,
      I’m amazed that you figured out we’re staying at South Beach. The place is very nice (In a Kyrgyzstan kind of way), and it’s great to have fast Internet again. As to the questions of Shrek, your guess is as good as mine, but it will likely have something to do with their fascination with American pop culture, and Disney’s global reach.

      1. Hi Cliff – sorry not on your latest post –
        Quite simple really – looked at your realtime Tracking – the last waypoint gives the LAT and LON data, just do a lookup on Google Maps and voila the last place was next to the hotel 🙂

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