The morning of Thursday, 26 March, I received a text from 112, telling me that the Kokshetau-Astana road was closed due to winds. I get these texts all the time, and I enjoy learning which roads are closed due to winds; I also get informed when local schools are closed due to cold weather. But they never impact me (except when they wake me up at 2 in the morning!)
So I ignored it. Then, as my friend and I got ready to head home from Borovoe, I suddenly realized - that's the road we take to get home. Well, the text was from this morning - could the road still be closed? I called a friend in Astana, who didn't know how to find out other than just try it.
So we checked out of our hotel and drove to the freeway.
There was quite a traffic jam along the entrance to the freeway, including lots of trucks. Some people had stepped out of their cars to smoke cigarettes or to talk to other drivers. I rolled my window down and tried to talk to a person who was passing by. He said that the road was closed until tomorrow, and we'd best return to the city and find a hotel.
We saw, way ahead, that people were turning around, and so we waited.
And we waited.
Finally, we noticed some cars getting into the far left lane and moving, so we followed them. Near the place where cars were turning, the lane slowed to a stop, so we moved into another lane. And then we waited.
And we waited.
Finally, it clicked - the waiting cars were waiting until tomorrow! They were going to sleep in their cars and wait till the road opened. The far left lane was for people turning around.
Luckily, we had enough room to maneuver back into the far left lane. We managed to turn around and get back into town.
Now what? We were both low on money, and as much as we had enjoyed our stay in Borovoe, we were ready to return! I took a different route, through downtown Shchushinsk and to the south of Lake Schuchye, to Park Hotel Kokshetau, where I had stayed with my mom a few years ago.
It is a very nice quality hotel, and this time a breakfast buffet was included in our bill, which was very delicious. (When I went with my mom, breakfast was not included and there was no buffet). In the morning, we wandered to the frozen lake after breakfast before returning home.
For the entire route, at least one lane was clear; but usually the other lanes were not only covered but rather dangerous looking. To our right were mounds of snow; to our left, the fields were clear. The wind had indeed been fierce the day before!
And now I know to pay attention to those texts!
|The dock at the lake at Park Hotel Kokshetau - so much snow!|
|My car after the drive home|