I have been out of communications and with very slow connection when I had any. So will be updating the blog over the next few days
We climbed up to the top the day before yesterday morning and I think from the parking lot to the top is around a 300-meter climb. To be honest I did not think I was going to make it. I was quite happy when I reached the top. I will put more pictures when I update the blog.
Tsaparang was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Guge in the Garuda Valley, through which the upper Sutlej River flows, in Ngari Prefecture (Western Tibet) near the border of Ladakh. It is 278 km south-southwest of Senggezangbo Town and 26 km west of the 11th-century monastery at Thöling, and not far west of Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar. The Tsaparang Dzong was located here. Nearby is the Bon monastery of Gurugem.
Tsaparang is a huge fortress perched on a pyramid-shaped rock rising about 500 to 600 feet (152 to 183 m) at the end of a long narrow spur. It contains numerous tunnels and caves that have been carved out of the rock. At its base was a village where the common people lived. Above them were two public temples – the Lhakhang Marpo (Red Chapel) and the Lhakhang Karpo (White Chapel), and quarters for the monks. Further up, ascending a twisting stone staircase in a tunnel, were the royal quarters, and at the very top, the summer palace.
Our intrepid travelers, Ed and Thomas, are currently in remote areas of China where internet connectivity has been virtually non-existent. However I talked with Ed yesterday and all is well. There will soon be a new set of updates, do check in. – The editor.
Mission Impossible – Part 2
We arrived at the Kyrgyzstan boarder at sunset and with some concern because on the way our transmission developed a new condition that may put the trip in doubt since we have some very tall mountains passes a head of us.
But first we need to get across the border.
At the exit procedure of Kazakhstan we are told I can exit as a pedestrian and Thomas can do the vehicle procedure and we meet on the other side to do the entrance in to Kyrgyzstan. Sounds easy.
Our old friend Denis Zeman has been kind enough to introduce us to a new Denis in Kyrgyzstan, Denis Tulubaev, and he is waiting for us and it was so good that he was.
So I walk out of Kazakhstan and I am in no-man land waiting for Thomas to drive out. I only have a single entry visa into Kyrgystan and the only thing I have with me is my travel wallet with travel documents.
Not a very comfortable moment.
The car cannot cross on this boarder so Thomas needs to drive to another boarder. Luckily our new team of guardians is great. Denis his lovely daughter Liya and Vladimir.
We all manage to get together after crossing two different boarders Liya English is great and what a lovely young lady she is and Vladimir driving skills are impressive.
After a good night’s sleep the first visit is to the local Mercedes repair shop that works on Denise’s car. Nice clean shop. We left the car there according to the computer we need some more parts.
But, wait! the Mercedes guy knows this transmission shop in town that he would like them to check our problem.
They not only knew what the problem was. They had the refurbished part that we needed and while we were having a wonderful lunch for $300 USD (an impossible price) including labor and parts they replaced this part.
And it all came together the transmission runs great. We are now in Tibet after crossing more 5000+ meter mountain passes that I care to remember and our transmission is running fine.
What a mission impossible.
We stopped for one night in Shymkent and had the great pleasure of meeting our friend Denis again who introduced us to a new friend, Rolan, the local Karcher dealer.
Rolan took us to a very typical restaurant where we had a great dinner of Plov.
(Plov [plohf] is a cult dish not only in its homeland Uzbekistan, but all over the former Soviet Republics and Russia. A hearty one-pot rice dish cooked in lamb fat with onions and carrots, it has many variations. Russian men often cook plov for parties with the same me-put-food-on-this-table showmanship displayed by American husbands around their grills.)
In the morning we visited the Karcher branch that Rolan was very proud to show us and after a great lunch we were on our way to Bishkek Kyrgyzstan and some new friends and adventures.
Kazakhstan is a big country and driving from Atyrau to Shymkent we covered a very big portion of the Kazakh Steppe (plain).
That covers approximately 804,500 square km we stopped in Aktobe for the night and it was school graduation day.
As you can tell by some of the pictures.
The drive can be a very exciting experience since there is some great hazards that pop up without warning.
And they can be on the road surface or on the road.
THE IMPOSSIBLE MISSION
Our transmission problems and subsequent rescue by superhero Dennis and his superhero team!
The transmission on our G gave us very early signs of trouble back in Dresden, slipping between 2nd and 3rd. But it cleared up on it’s own, as intermittent problems do.
Communications with Mercedes home base seemed to indicate that a part changed in Germany during maintenance could be the reason for the problem. A quick and efficient stop at a Mercedes shop in Poland seem to confirm this assumption.
While traveling through Kazakstan with a more-or-less stable transmission, we were able to contact our super hero, Dennis, who managed to find the part in Almaty. Dennis also manages to find a master mechanic in Atyrau who has a Mercedes diagnostic computer, even though he is not a Mercedes shop.
Everything sounds good, and while our transmission its slipping more often, we know we will change the part soon and it will only take maybe a few hours or a day, maximum.
Superhero Dennis meet us in Uralsk to give us further assistance, bringing along his superhero colleague, a Russian. On the way to Atayraus the transmission is got worst but slowly but we made it and first thing in the morning we were at the magical repair shop of Wizard Andy. The following pictures will give you a view of what a wizard’s workshop looks like.
To sum it all up: After changing the suspected part and getting to know our transmission in a more intimate way, the wizard Andrew diagnosed our problems and a decision was made to give it 3 more days. Andy predicted that he could let us have our G in fine working order on Friday if some more parts could be found.
Superhero Dennis went to work on our parts issues and not once but twice managed to find the parts that were needed, and had them flown in by early morning. On Friday 9pm Andy delivered our G with a fine working transmission but informed us that according to the computer we were also having a non-critical problem with our electronic gas pedal.
On the pictures you will see the magical repair shop ( even though we visited the shop at many different times we never actually witnessed any work being done on our transmission– it just seem to move from one step to the next by itself and Andy was always there to greet us with a smile and perfectly clean hands. (I guess that is how wizards work)
You will also meet other players, especially the two little friends that befriended Thomas and gave us the lucky charm that is sitting on our dash. It seems to be working very well.