We woke to him frantically rustling the newspaper, scouring the listings for any mechanics that could fix it. We could hear him on the phone pressing for answers as we pretended to sleep, which was limited by our anxiety as we listened intently for a hint of positive tone in his voice.
He left us to go into town, we guessed to try and improve our dilemma, but not before asking us to weed his garden! After he’d got a quick video, probably to show his mates, he set off. We had no problems as we saw it as a ‘you scratch my back’ situation so we spent the next hour pulling plants out of the ground in the sweltering heat. He returned a happy man saying “horror-show”, which was a bit perplexing. It was only later we learnt “horror-show” (phonetically) means “very good” in Kazakhstan. Whether it was because his garden was immaculate or he’d made progress with the ambulance is still a mystery.
We jumped into his clapped out Opel ready to navigate the potholes and small lakes around the city streets not too sure where we were going. After a nervy journey we pulled up at a Toyota garage…not a very promising sign considering we’d been promised a Renault dealer. While we stewed in the car he negotiated on our behalf, not only at the one garage but 4 more around the city. At each garage we were told there were no Renault parts in Kazakhstan. Unless we were willing to wait for new parts from Europe no-one was willing to take on the work. Even then there was no guarantee the ambulance would last the next 3000 miles. We all had that sinking feeling in our stomach as we pulled up to the last garage our friend knew that might be able to do the work. As he was walking back to the car we knew what the news would be. Thumbs down said it all.