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Tim returns to Kulsari to find horses prepared for race and Mosque ...

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) Carrying on the webmaster sexiness is the equally roguish and handsome Cameron Cope, who will now be sharing the privilege of updating the website with Danny. Last night Tim called me with the latest news from western Kazakhstan, where he is waiting for an AC adapter for his laptop: On his way back to Kulsari Tim visited Otara, the ancient city that Ghengis Khan razed at the start of the 13th century, it was his first major foray into central Asia and towards Europe. Amazingly, human bones, broken pots, and other debris from the destruction still litter the area today, an incredible 700 years later! After 3 days on the train Tim finally made it back to Kulsari and went straight to the police station to find out if they had got his reign, halter and rope back from Guanshbai. But discovered that they no longer even had any record about the case. The captain of the police station was sympathetic to Tim’s situation and took him home for lunch, later he made an official charge but will have to wait for 3 weeks before any legal proceedings can go ahead (a prospect Tim cannot afford to pursue). So Tim is still searching for some justice, at least the Vets in Kulsari share his opinion on the devilish Guanshbai. Tim met up with the Vets and thanked them with gifts of vodka, chocolate and photos and together drove out to the village ‘Karagai’, where the horses were supposed to have been looked after. Arriving at the village Tim discovered two of his horses were missing, after much searching without success Tim stumbled across a worrying scene: two horses being hacked up by axe! It’s not too difficult to imagine where Tim’s thoughts then wandered. Luckily, however, the horses weren’t his and he continued searching out on the steppe. Finally he found them only to discover they were being ridden by the men supposed to be looking after them, AND, they were being prepared for a 20km sprint horse race! After rescuing the horses from the imminent race (due to start the very next day) Tim begrudgingly payed the men for their services and the feed they were supposed to have fed his horses, only to be met with requests for gifts and his saddle! The good news is that Tim has found Tigon, who is healthy as ever and looking great with a shiny new coat, and has been jumping all over Tim. He has been looked after by a 76 year old grandpa who keeps on him a kangaroo badge at all times (a gift from Tim) and carries in his breast pocket an article about Tim that was in the kazak paper. Tim was then lucky enough to be invited to a big celebration in village for the building and opening of a new mosque, to replace the one crushed by the Soviets in the 1930s. Four to Five hundred gathered from the ‘Taz’ tribe for the occasion, including Imams and Mullahs sporting long beards, big hats and robes. Five yurt tents were set up and 10 massive pots of meat (horse, cow and sheep) were cooking for all. The elderly tribe leaders made speeches and prayers and there was much music played on the dombra (the kazak national instrument). Tim was asked to deliver a speech. In Russian he thanked all Kazaks for their warm hospitality and wished to god that the new mosque would bring everyone luck. Tim was then presented with a big kazak robe and hat (which he is very proud of). After the speeches he was privileged enough to be invited into the yurt tent with all the elderly leaders of the clan for discussion. All wanted to know which saintly parts of Kazakhstan he’d visited and were impressed to hear that he’d stayed in the underground mosque ‘Bekethea’. So Tim is preparing to leave on the horses tomorrow. As always he faces a myriad of uncertainties. He still doesn’t know if he can take action against Guanshbai and he doubts that the horses will make it all the way to Hungary. Currently, the plan is to reach the Russian border in about one month, but it will be difficult as there’s almost no water in this very salty, flat, land. It will surely test the horses (as they have not gained any weight since he left them) though he is thankful that at least they were not stolen or hacked up for meat. And he still awaits his Russian visa. Thankfully, the weather has cooled slightly (though it is still quite hot) and Tim is hopeful for it to be soon cool enough to ride during daylight hours. (Click here to view the complete list of diary entries)