We had set up camp in the middle of a field somewhere as the sun was setting during the Kazakhstan leg of the Mongol Rally. After pulling off the highway, we followed some tracks to the top of a hill where we started to pitch our tents. In the distance we saw a horse and rider running in the fields.
He disappeared, but a while later we saw him atop a ridge behind us. He stood there awhile contemplating and examining us from a distance. In a few minutes he started his approach.
With dog following behind, he came upon our camp and waved hello. He was a young man with kind eyes. We couldn’t communicate, but he was content to watch us prepare our accommodation for the night.
Rick took notice of something that he was carrying and made the mistake of showing interest. As with the custom of so many cultures, when a person shows interest in something, it is in their nature to offer it up as a gift. He could not refuse and accepted.
I made sure to give him something in return and gave him a Track24 Solo golf shirt. They had given us a few in London and they have come in handy as bartering options. He gladly accepted.
I noticed him smoking and wanted to give him something of value so I also gave him a pack of wooden matches that we had bought in Russia. These he seemed very happy to accept.
As we became more comfortable, he told us his name, Beket.
Beket was curious and surprised to see us but happy to watch. With a headless jackrabbit hanging off of his saddle, we asked him (in the language of mime) how he caught it. He pointed to his dog and we thought to ourselves, that’s one tough dog.
As usual, Dave made fast friends with him and took his photograph. We got his address and will send him a copy of the picture and pray that it makes it there. We gave him our card with hopes that one day he will have email, but for now we will both always have the memory of that moment in time when we met in the middle of the field in Northern Kazakhstan.