4, Central Asia24/03/2013 12:08
This is the 4th part of a series of 5, covering the period from January 2011 to March 2013
Our trip to the "Stans"
Coming back from Morocco we drove almost without stopping to Holland. We knew we had to be in or near the Hague for a while: I needed a new Dutch passport and we both needed a visum for Russia, Ann needed one in addition for The Ukraine. Because it all goes in sequence rather than concurrently, it would take over two weeks to get it done. Two weeks in a Dutch campsite costs a fortune, so we opted to establish a base in a parking area for international freight trucks along the highway from the Hague to Utrecht near Gouda. It features a hotel, a restaurant and coffee shop, toilets and shower facilities and free parking, presumably for a maximum of 3 days, but we stayed much longer and no-one ever bothered us.
When in Holland, which happens once on average every two years, I visit my sister and her husband who live in Groningen and friends who live in the Hague. Friends are mostly people I knew when on the Academy of Art, where I studied graphic design for three years until I was made to understand graphic design was not for me. Later that year I was called up to join the army. That was 1958. I was 22 years old.
Seen over such a long period, not many friends are still around. One of them, who had been involved in maquette building most of his working life, passed away recently and left a wide gap. He had been older than me, had been studying in a class higher than me, but had become one of a very small number of people you miss when they are gone. He was also one of those who had veered away altogether from graphic designing, although he had made his mark already in that field rather early, to pursue a different line of work. One gets pushed that way, I know for myself.
After the army I worked as assistant to the advertising manager of a large firm and much later as an advertising manager myself for a Swedish firm that went under with the advent of electronic equipment that replaced mechanical office machinery. In between there were jobs that had nothing to do with advertising and after emigrating to South Africa, I became a salesman and real estate agent.
With my best ever friend who was in the same class as the maquette builder, I shared many small and bigger adventures. He divorced the girl he was married to and stayed a bachelor, although not without female companion. I still like to look him up when in Holland. His former wife married yet another member of that class, a man I never knew very well but who is one of the very few who made a success of his training. For the largest part of, that is almost all his working life, he worked as a graphic designer. Soon after leaving the Academy he landed a, supposedly small, commission for the Royal Dutch Post Office - and in the ensewing 40-odd years gave a face and statue to that institution.
Although not gifted with the ability to be a graphic designer, I can recognize graphic beauty when I see it. The work he produced that I have seen has that beauty. It has that uncompromising kind of authority that comes with exactness. It can´t fail to tell you something of the man who created it. And so, this time in Holland when I met him after so many years, we got talking. One of the subjects that came to be discussed, was the origin of man, the books of Sitchin and Michael Tellenger who contends that the human race was created and its DNA manipulated by extra terrestrials some 250.000 years ago. It became a topic of discussion in the period many people had been made aware that a very large planet was nearing our world and would - or could cause catastrophic upheavals that even might wipe out mankind.
My friend was skeptical. And that sets us apart, as expected.
I am a romantic and my friend is - again presumedly - not.
My believe is that, some 450.000 years ago, human beings far more advanced than we, came to earth from Nibiru. After toiling over 200.000 years they created, by artificial means, a human species that worked for them as slaves. The new workers called their creators “gods”.
Some gods, over time, felt they needed more influence and power in the daily running of their affairs. To acquire their goals they waged war amongst themselves. They used their human slaves to fight these wars.
They still do that. I believe that we have indeed been created and our potential as a species is much and much greater than we have been made to believe. We, as a species, have been monitored ever since our creation; we have been saddled with a control system, called religion.
That, in MY opinion, church spires and minarets are control towers, making us aware that we have masters with a power much greater than we have, a power that keeps us “in our place”. Maybe our religious leaders unknowingly see them as their markers. But I can´t believe they don´t know better.
We are burdened with restrictions of behavior, fear, prejudices, ignorance, traditions and a ghost of other embedded notions. We have also been created with a strong rejection mechanism when confronted with ideas, not generally accepted previously. Like the existence of Ufo´s, Nicola Tesla´s experiments with energy generation, new findings concerning the building and purpose of pyramids, the discovery of a much bigger pyramid in Bosnia, the finding and translation of thousands of clay tablets, describing the origin of mankind, amongst others. The experiments with stem cels has been delayed by years, because it was argued we could not interfere with “Gods” work. And there are millions of people who will swear that Darwin´s theory of evolution is correct. Or that it may not be taughd at schools, in favor of the Adam-and-Eve story.
OK, laugh. Have fun. Slap your knees! but remember: ignorance is bliss.
Anyone with a serious interest in the creation of man, when delving deep in published information and getting interested in archeological finds will, at least, start to ask questions. What have we learned at school, what does the bible say, is evidence of nuclear destruction of whole cities many thousands of years ago to be taken seriously and so on, and on.
But let´s go back to my travel story.
Once we had our visa, we didn´t wait long before leaving Holland. We needed to go over the border into Kazakhstan no later then 24th of March. We did not have much time to cross Germany and Poland. It was March 4 when we crossed the border into Germany, where we wanted to pay a short visit to Berlin. There we saw the sights, took a tourist tour by bus through the city and marveled at the fact that, what we saw, was mainly new and built-up with very little to remind us of the war´s destruction. A few crumbling pieces of the Wall, was mainly all we saw.
The roads we travelled on in Germany and Poland were good, but things changed when we were in Kazakhstan. That first part just over the border was a good example of what was to come. Truth is that most roads were under construction; in other words, they had been bad and the temporal roads, laid out to allow traffic to flow (few private cars, mainly busses and heavy Kamaz trucks with their trailers) were either the same or slightly better. As far as camping is concerned; there is no limit to the freedom you have to choose your site. As long as you are not in the path of a compacter or other piece of heavy machinery, you can stop and make camp where you want. We choose places a little away from the dust and noise, sometimes in plain view of the workers, and never felt more free and relaxed than there. This is the kind of freedom we encountered in all the ex-Russian satellites we visited: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. We skipped Turkmenistan because we had been told it´s a police state. The others are not. When we were stopped at a checkpoint or because I had done something wrong, like speeding or overtaking over double lines, we were dealt with courteously if sometimes very sternly, but because I have not enough Russian to fill out a ticket form, nor had they enough English to do that, I came off virtually scot free. I remember paying 36 Roubel, the difference in numbers between the speed I was driving and the allowed speed on that road. And all the time there is good cheers; what a pleasure!
Kazakhstan is an enormous, flat country and there was little to see. We drove a distance to see an impressive dry gorge with walls some 20m high and signs of surging, seething water, going back most probably for thousands of years to the end of the last ice age. Once we veered to the south and over the border into Kyrgyzstan it got better, a lot. We rounded a large lake on the shore of which we camped a few times and met people who had chosen the same spot for a swim and a family outing.
When we had reached the south shore of the lake, we were looking for a way to get further South through the mountains. We found a road, wide and well graded, gradually climbing and leading to one of the biggest goldmines so far on earth at 4000m. The mine is exploited by a Canadian company that has brought massive equipment to extract the gold and a fleet of heavy duty trucks, Internationals or another of those massive road monsters in favor of the Russian Kamaz. Their imported trucks were visibly troubled by the bad roads, but in winter with snow on the access road to the mine, which for the last part was narrow with umpteen hairpin bends and covered by a centimeters thick layer of dust, even they would have to stop operations and the mine would become inaccessible. I think that’s why we saw convoy after convoy of these trucks climbing up to the mine. I must add that, even in favorable conditions, it must have taken a lot of skill and experience to haul a heavy truck with a 25 ton, 10m long trailer up that 10km track. My respect!
Once we were at 4000 meter, the road to the mine split off to the left and we went slightly down in a valley where we lost the road. Fortunately there was someone to help us out and we continued in the direction of the bridge that would carry us to the other side of the river to the left of us. To shorten the distance I veered off the gravel road and drove over hard ground in the direction given, taking for granted that the ground would be hard all the way. WRONG!
We got stuck in the mud of a marsh, about a km from the road and not yet in sight of the bridge, with deserted farm steads in front of us and behind, where the occupants had taken their cattle to summer pastures. No help in sight. No problem, we had been stuck before, in sand and snow. But mud is different. There is nothing hard underneath and we had to find that out the hard way.
After a lot of struggling in the cold water and the sharp wind, and with the welcome help of a lone horseman, we freed the car from the muddy grip the next day and hasted to get back to the road. We found the bridge, crossed it and found there was no road to the left as indicated on the map. To the right we found a narrow track that eventually led to a wide river we crossed through meter high water. The landscape was breathtaking; fabulous mountains, a spirited river with green marshes on either side - and somewhat later a group of people gathered at a goat pen. We were welcomed pleasantly but when we inquired about the road they made it clear there was no road through the mountains. Back we went, again through the river and over the bridge where I found another road leading in the direction we wanted to go. But again stopped by a couple of hunters who informed us there was no road after that point. So, back again and camping near a farm stead along the river where we had to satisfy a young boy with the answers he sought about us and the car. His older brother was more interested in beer. It was an unbelievable beautiful campsite.
But we had to retrace our wheel tracks, all the way back to the lake, from where we would travel over roads conventional.
One more blog entry to finish this episode.