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Archive for September 11th, 2012

All Roads Lead To Ulan Batar

Posted by TravellingStrom on September 11, 2012

Mayan Prophecy Countdown

We had an early start this morning, and after a dingos breakfast we hit the road around 7am. We expected to be able to drive all day, depending on the road condition, but if we could get to Ulan Batar by that evening it would be good. We had been in contact with Neil and he advised that they had arrived there yesterday, Monday. The Chinese embassy was closed today but would be open Wednesday at 9am and we needed to be there, and although they had heard of 24 hour visas being issued for extra money, we could not rely on this. If we had to wait the 5 business days, then we may have to ask for the entry into China be delayed by a day, we shall see.

So we headed off with David driving, although I did say if he wanted to share the driving I was more than willing to lend a hand. The first part of the journey was on the standard dirt roads we have been used to over the past 4 days and we averaged around the 60kmh, a bit faster in the car than on a bike. We stopped to make a cuppa and avoid the yaks and then another time I went hunting a photo of this group of vultures, but when I got close, they took off, but they had very impressive wingspans 🙂

As we got closer to the next town we found pavement, and quite good quality as well, in fact we had seen it next to us for ages, but once again we were foiled by the deep ditch they dig along its edge to stop people using it, but we did find an on ramp at last 🙂 Neil had let us know that there were some bad sections, but overall it was in pretty good condition. We grabbed some snacks from a shop, chips and chocolate coated sultanas 🙂 This was when I took over the driving duties and stayed here for the next three hours or so. We covered some territory, I was maintaining a round the 100kmh, although sometimes the bad sections slowed us right down. In one particular section the road was real nice, then just as we topped a rise there were two massive potholes and we slammed into these, but luckily we did no damage to the wheels, that area really needed a warning sign. We found out later that Neil and Chris were also taken by surprise here, but no damage was done to them either!

We fuelled up at the next servo and kept on going. There were a few sights that we could have stopped at to take photos, like a massive Buddist temple and the sand dune camel rides area, but we had a goal which was more important, our Chinese visas so sadly tourism things were out of the question for the moment 😦

The day progressed rapidly and in the middle of the afternoon I asked to be relieved of the driving as I did not feel like driving through the city traffic, I had heard it is a nightmare and the potholes were deep and ferocious, swallowing cars at random, I figured if the car was going to get damaged, David can do it himself 🙂 I also wanted some time to read my book, a great novel called The Firm, by John Grisham which I was half way through 🙂

We duly arrived at the western edge of UB at 3.30pm and now we had to drive all the way through this city of 1.5 million people, most of them in cars and in front of us, to the eastern edge of town where the bikes had been delivered already at the Oasis Guesthouse. The Oasis is owned and run by an expat German named Sybill and as it turns out it is an oasis of cleanliness in a very dirty smog filled city. We arrived there an hour and half later and booked in, then went to an ATM for money to pay the final instalment to the driver for our transport, he did a great job 🙂

The bikes had been unloaded by some other riders, this being a bikers guesthouse mainly, but anybody is welcome. Then it was time to unpack in my new accommodation, called a Ger. This is a traditional Mongolian lodging, it has a wooden floor, wood framework and soft walls made of felt, this one had a wood stove and a skylight with four bunks inside, I paid extra so I could have the Ger to myself, I like my privacy and my snoring keeps people awake anyway 🙂

The Oasis also had an alcohol licence, a nice cafe with mainly western foods and steaming hot showers, what more could an adventure rider want 🙂

So after a few beers with Neil, Chris and Iain and some story swapping, it was time to crash out, we had an early start as we wanted to be at the embassy very early so we could all get processed before they closed the doors, which apparently they do at random?

Cheers from Ulan Batar, Mongolia

Posted in Around The World, Eurasia | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

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