18-Aug-2007 – This was the first visit of this confluence. The distance between Kzyl-Orda, the regions capital and the confluence is between 30 and 40 kilometers. It lies a little more than one kilometer off the road connecting Kyzylorda with Jezkazgan. The A344 leads through the several
thousand square kilometers of the inhospitable landscape, that separates the
two cities. It varies between steppe and outright desert.
I read somewhere in a travel guide, that Kazakhstan is a bunch of nice people
living at some interesting places with vast amounts of Nothing in between. That day I sampled some of that ‚Nothing’. Since there is almost no traffic on the A344, and apparently only one bus a day going between Kzyl-Orda and Jezkazgan, catching the bus or hitchhiking were sure recipes for getting stuck somewhere in the middle of Nowhere for hours or even a day. So I took a taxi from Kzyl-Orda to the confluence. It takes about 45 minutes to drive to the confluence but we needed almost double the time because halfway there my driver realized that he
had almost no gas in the tank. Since there are no gas stations on the way out there we had turn back to top up. The roads at the outskirts of Kzyl-Orda are terrible. The relentless sun literally melts the pavement and the heavy trucks operating there squeeze and deform the asphalt, rendering it almost unusable for smaller cars. I fear we seriously damaged the suspension on this section because we backtracked and therefore passed it four times.
Once we reached the point where I felt the distance to the confluence was the closest, I jumped out the car enthusiastically and almost ran towards the confluence. Because of the experiences I had with other desert points, I was careful to mark the position of the car in my GPS receiver, in spite of small distance to the confluence. The temperature was well over 45°C but the dry climate helped endure it. I needed around 40 minutes to reach the confluence, take the pictures and go back. The spot was in a pan of backed mud with a thin salt cover, surrounded by small hills of sand. The vegetation consisted of small dried shrubs.
The euphoria from visiting this confluence gave me the confidence to try
to visit another one the very same day (N65°E45°).