Some cooler temperatures, a breeze that makes you feel as though you should be by the ocean, a cafe near the hotel that makes delicious eggs, a restaurant that serves yummy pork and lamb kebabs (plus the bottles of vodka, but that goes without saying), friendly locals who smile and blow kisses, children that want you to play soccer, fountains galore (I think this is a feature of Turkmenistan, though), a fast internet cafe, bakeries and a large market area that sells everything from clothing, produce, pickled veggies, cheese, meat, drinks, jewellery, cosmetics and those delicious meat wraps we have grown to love (watching them make them and then cook them in the clay ovens is the best part)…mmmmmm, what else is there to say!? The hotel oozes that Soviet-era feel but the air conditioning is new and the rooms clean and decent. The police looking after our bikes are friendly, there is an abundance of cafes, statues and traffic but really, Mary just has a great feel for a rest day stop (it was built in the 19th century as a stopover for the train line anyways). We are staying fairly close to the downtown area so everything is within walking distance. It has been nice not to have to catch taxis. The majority of the group ducked off to Merv, ancient ruins dating back to the third century AD, while others strolled through the bazaar, visited the Russian Museum or just rested and filled their stomachs with food. Wimpie and Errol, the African Routes truck drivers, spent the majority of their day working on both trucks, their usual rest day routine! Tomorrow, we head north towards Uzbekistan and our border crossing in 3 days time.