Day 4 & 5 - Traveling to Janaozen



The day started from the little oil camp. Following recommendation of an 'old fox' of the steppes, I commenced exploration of the 70km path to 'Kenderli Bay'. The sandy bumpy ways along the coast made for an impossible challenge. To add to the complication, my GPS was not providing me with a detailed map of the area. That said, after about 10 kilometers, I acknowledged that the challenge was not doable and I decided to take the 200km journey via Janaozen rd. Thankfully, this path provided a strong lateral wind making for little pedaling.

Approaching 'Gety Bay', the wind became so strong that it was simply impossible to stand. Although the sail was floating and clacking in all direction, I continued the journey. After having reached the main road 74 kms later, I found a cab that could fit the Whike and went to Janaozen.











Janaozen is a young oil city built by soviet prisoners in the 1970ies. This city is organized in patches of yellow/brown clay. The five story decrepit buildings all look very similar, a working camp. Around the central square, facades have been recently repainted in pastel green blue and rose tones. The bus station, along with two or tree bazaars and a rudimentary shopping street brighten up the city life. The rest is made of family houses.

I was hosted by my friend Mokhtar who lives with his wife, kid and parents in a big family house, built by his father. Like most of the people in the region, Mokhtar and his family are very much tuned into spiritual thinking making for fascinating discussions about religious beliefs. He guided me for the whole day in the city and particularly in the main bazaar that he is administering. He told me about the history of the city, the terrible events of 1989 and most recently the sad bloodbath of 2011. Janaozen, although very small is an important marker in the recent Kazakhstan history. Naturally, most of the habitants live happily and are very proud of their city.


All the best!