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Diplomacy and Dysentry

August 13th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Things took a turn for the worse yesterday afternoon, when Jimmy succumbed to a cold and his temperature shot through the roof. It took us an hour before the one border guard with nothing to do let us through to try and find a doctor. The doctor was to be found having a cigarette round the back of the customs building and could hardly be said to resemble a land mammal. Once he had waddled into Taxistan he ummed and ahhed and then called an ambulance from Kazakhstan (The Russians don’t have to have anything to do with us and the Kazakhs seem to obey orders from the Russians.) The Kazakh ambulance arrived and it soon became clear that language was going to be a real problem. Taxistan called their Kazakh counterpart in London, HE Marina Kim to translate for us. Marina proceeded to give the doctor a tongue lashing for forcing us to live in such conditions, and then went to work trying to free us…

Within the hour TDT had received calls from The British Embassy in Astana, the Secretary of State for Europe in the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Mayor of Semeipalatinsk, who had been awoken in the middle of the night in order to come and meet us at the border. Unfortunately the volley of diplomacy on behalf of Taxistan was not enough to bring down the Russian wall of bureaucracy. However the Kazakhs have now agreed to let us use their loo and bring us food and water. Our situation is now greatly improved.

During these negotiations, Jimmy was being looked after by a Spanish medical student from a passing Mongol Rally team. (The Russian had waddled into the distance) Jimmy’s visa became valid at midnight on Wednesday night and so the decision was taken, despite Jimmy’s best stoic protestations, to evacuate him to Russia in an Austin Allegra and try and find some decent medical attention. He was taken to Barnaul hospital last night and has now been discharged and is staying in the Hotel Siberia on Sovietska in Barnaul. He is expected to make a full recovery in time for the lesser part of TDT’s border crossing in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Taxistan’s population is now down to 2 , however spirits remain high as we are refusing to show weakness in the face of the enemy. Taxistan owes a debt of gratitude to all passing Mongol Rally teams whose donations of food, water, medicine and most importantly a cricket bat have helped to keep us alive and sane. We are particularly grateful to Pat and Dom in the Austin Allegro for rescuing Jimmy last night, and to Marina, for causing such a firestorm, who we thank from the bottom of our heart; and we shall endeavour to thank the Russians from the heart of our bottom.


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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Marina // Aug 14, 2008 at 4:49 am

    :-) I am glad your situation improved and am very sorry we couldn’t bring you through the border, we tried! Lots of love XXX

  • 2 mike/betsey // Aug 14, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Jimmy..glad it ended well…all the best…hope we see you before we leave. M/B

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