Feb 26 2011

Four Limbs & Four Wheels Survived

Category: Kazakh Driving,Personal,PicturesChrisM @ 12:10 am

Today we finally had our new car back at home with us. Losha (Igor’s son (both of whom have been so incredibly helpful, along with Yerbalan, Ira’s Dad’s chauffeur with sorting all the paperwork and logistics out)) drove it from where it was being stored temporarily to our garage. Before I could drive it legally, or either Irina or I would want to drive it, we had to sort the car registration papers, the MOT (required even on brand new cars), the permission for me to drive it (first we needed to get the paperwork created at a legal office, then signed, scribbled on and stamped at the road police HQ), the bare bones insurance that is a legal requirement (basically third party only, same price for an 18 year old driving a Hummer as it would be for a 55 year old lady driving an old Lada!), the proper insurance so our car is actually covered, the winter tyres (and new wheels to put them on, so we only swap the wheels every couple of seasons, rather than removing the tyres as well), my driving licence to be officially translated, a set of remote control keys for our garage and probably something else I’ve forgotten. Anyway, the car is now with us, and this evening I drove it, and on Kazakh roads, and in an automatic, and on the right hand side of the road, for the very first time!
Having warned one friend that I’d potentially be on the same tarmac as him, he told me to forget putting some music on (something else I’d sorted before jumping in the car) for my first foray on to Astana’s roads. Each to their own, but I needed some tunes to stop obsessing over A) I’m driving a car with an automatic gearbox for the first time ever in my life. There is no freaking clutch pedal. How is this obviously possessed car not stalling each time I stop at a junction??? B) Proper icy roads to be driven on (once in a blue moon does this occur back in Britain). The main roads are absolutely fine, but some of the minor roads behind our flat (that provide the simplest access to the main road) are pure ice in areas C) Kazakh drivers are surrounding me!
Anyway, after circling (and figure of eight-ing) a few blocks radius of our home, I decided I had grown accustomed to this almost entirely new experience enough, and jumped onto a main road. A couple of turns later, I was now on the main road outside our flat, and dived into Astana Park’s car park, out the other end, under the bridge over the river Ishim (to effectively pull a subterranean U-turn below the main road I’d been driving on), back up onto the main road, and then home again. No one beeped at me, crashed into me or cut me up, mind you the roads were quite quiet 🙂
No photos from today, but when I saw the car in daylight for the first time yesterday (where it was being stored out of the -20/-30C temperatures), I grabbed a few shots, see below for our lovely little machine, with Anna posing in a couple (she saw the camera come out of a bag, and assumed the shots were to feature her).