On the second day of the festival I thought it best to skip breakfast altogether and watch the blue wolf debacle unfold. When they eventually got a van and driver sorted the festival was well under way and we hadn’t even moved anywhere yet. When we did eventually set off the driver decided to go round and pick some of his mates up instead of heading to the festival which made us even later. When we arrived it was apparent that there were considerably less tourist and much more locals this time round which was nice as it felt less like a theme park and more like a traditional cultural festival of Kazakh sports.
I spotted Maria who was with Dominiek and Cora and made my way over to them. It turned out Maria had been chatting to Cora in the UK on a travelling forum about advice and the possibility of travelling together for a bit but there arrival times did not match up so it never happened. Until now they had no idea they already knew each other. Small world hey. So while Maria and Cora caught up with each other Dominiek and Me skulked off to be camera geeks and photograph the second round of the eagle hunting. It was pretty much the same as yesterday but instead of taking meat from the hunters hand the hunter was dragging a fox cub skin attached to a rope along the ground where the eagle would swoop down and attack the already quite dead prey. This literally went on for hours as each hunter had three goes in total and there was maybe 50 to 60 hunters. After their second go everyone was waiting for one of the eagles to go rogue and attack another tourist.
Sure enough one did it swooped down in the distance and hit this guy so hard it knocked him off his feet, when the eagle was eventually pulled from him it became apparent that it was exactly the same guy as yesterday! He was standing in the same area as he was yesterday too. If it was me I wouldn’t of taken the chance. Lightening might not strike in the same place twice but eagles do! I can imagine it now the eagle was let off and whilst swooping around above the mountain started thinking to itself god I hate this job. Look at that twat down there he’s prancing around on his horse again I suppose he wants me to catch that mangey fox skin. Woah hold on a minute isn’t that? It is. Its that bald headed fat fucker from yesterday wearing the big blue puffer jacket! I haven’t finished with him yet I don’t want that dirty rotten fox skin I want that tourist I have tasted his blood now I want his eyes! And with that the eagle locks onto its target makes its 100 mile an hour decent and proceeds to shred the guys puffer jacket to bits. The one thing I did find amusing was every time a tourist was attacked by an eagle you could hear the sound of all the tourists gasping while from the Kazakhs and Mongols you would hear fits of laughter!
After lunch there was the game of kokbar which I suppose is a game similar to rugby but played on horses and instead of a rugby ball they use a goat skin filled with sand. The object is to wrestle the skin from the opposing team and speed down the pitch to where there was a stone plinth if you managed to place the goat skin on the plinth your team scored a point. Now the perimeter of the pitch was marked out in white paint, this was also the line that the spectators were not to cross. So with everybody pretty much standing on this line and a bunch of men riding around on stampeding horses who were more concerned about wrestling a dead goatskin out of each others hands as a posed to looking where there crazed horses were going. This was quite easily the most dangerous spectator sport I have every seen. Every few minutes people were throwing themselves out of the way of 12 stampeding horse charging there way across the line. In some places there crowd was so dense people just could not move away in time. Me and Dominiek noticed that all the Kazak people were standing on the other side where it was a lot less dense. So when the next team was getting ready to make their way onto the pitch we made a dash for it to the other side. Now on the Kazakh side the white border line didn’t mean anything everyone of them was well over the line and some a quarter of the way on to the pitch. Obviously as the horses sped towards us we would move back out of the way, but this was brilliant as we could move right in there and get some great pictues. The police were more concerned on the opposite side where all the densely pack tourists were. so we were pretty much free to do what we wanted.
When the kokbar games were over the award ceremony began and the medals cups and certificates were handed out to the winners. However in the distance Me, Chris and Laura who were also riding in our van could see a russian van going round and round in circles in the distance it quickly became apparent that it was indeed our russian van. We quickly headed over just as our driver was being pulled from the driving seat and repeatedly pummeled by an enraged woman as he had driven all over some quilts and blankets she was selling and had laid out on the ground. It was obvious he was drunk. When he eventually escaped the wrath of the blanket seller he jumped in the van and tried to drive off! We had to run after him and wave him to stop, on seeing us he drove right at us nearly running us down. He then fell out of the door and stumbled towards us shouting and shaking his fists He reaked of booze and was ready and looking to have a fight with us. He was giving Chris some agro and gesturing that we get in the van. I spoke to let him know there were two more people still to come when he turned round grabbed me and got right up in my face waving his fist at me. It was at this point when I was looking into his eyes I realised that if we got into that van we would not be getting out alive! He was paralytically shitfaced and for some reason incredibly angry. He was shoving us about and literally throwing us at the van there was a good crowd gathering now but no one was going to help us infact when the driver was to fucked to open the doors a bystander who could obviously see how wrecked he was jumped in the van and opened all the doors for him! Cheers mate.
So with the doors now open he pretty much forced us into the van slamming the door on Laura before she was even in the thing! It took him several attempts to start the van as it was near enough as wrecked as he was. So while he tried to get us moving we moved all the deadly objects from around us and braced ourselves ready for the pending accident. When he managed to get the thing going he only drove about 100 meters in a very wobbly line before the police pulled alongside and got him to stop. I have never been so happy to see the bloody police before! They took the keys out of the ignition and he fell out of the door, the police dragged him into the back and three of them got in and proceeded to drive the van out of the festival. We tried to tell the police there were two more people who were meant to be on the bus but it was no use they had no idea what we were saying and they continued to drive back to Olgi. It was only when we were half way back a policeman noticed one of the other guys bags in the front he picked up turned round an asked how many. In unison we said five holding up five fingers at the same time. The policeman immediately understood and he said something to the policeman who was driving who then slammed on the breaks. Our drunk driver thinks the whole thing is hilarious and is laughing his head off.
Then the van would then not start so they got out to push it and bump start it. We then headed back to the festival and drove around looking for them but by this point it was evident they were no longer here and must of hitched a ride home. The police eventually pulled up to a woman who must of been a guide as she spoke perfect english and we able to explain to the officers what had actually happened. She then told us the driver is very drunk and needs to go to jail, so the police were going there now and we would have to make our way from the jail to the quest house! We managed to convince the police to take us back to blue wolf guest house first thank god. When we arrived Roger and Usher the two who were left behind were already back at the guest house wondering where the hell we were as they had seen the van driving off without them and to be honest after the stress of whet we just went through I wished it had driven off without me as well!