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Visa Application day, A Pleasant Surprise!!!!!

Posted by TravellingStrom on September 12, 2012

Mayan Prophecy Countdown

Breakfast is pretty simple here at the Oasis, it is included with the room cost, but is only toast and jam and tea or coffee, but you can have as much as you like. Today we ate early as we left for the Chinese embassy at 8am. There are a few ways to get there, bus or taxi, the first costs 400Tr(28c) and is slow the second is 800Tr/km so you sort of have to guess as the meters don’t usually get turned on, or work properly when they are, but the way they drive, they are a bit faster. 😯 The 3rd and best way is to flag down a driver and negotiate a fee. Today, we had ordered two taxis to be there at 8am and we headed off with both of them taking short cuts through dirty old back allies, overtaking on the inside, on the kerb, on the footpath!!!! But we soon learnt it is normal behaviour, crikey will we survive!!

We got to the embassy early and the taxi drivers then proceeded to rip us off, asking for a fair bit. We had taken note of the odometer and basically said, this is what you are getting, take it or leave it, they took it and did not seem to sad about the amount offered!!! So we were early, but were still behind 5 other people and so we waited in the freezing cold for over an hour! But, we were allowed in(in some cases they may have a line of 100 people, but there is not enough time to process them all and they close the doors), today maybe only 40 people were there when we were.

The formalities were a bit different than what we had heard over the net and the forums, which was that it takes 5 business days to get a visa, and for the past month, not many visas had been issued at all. As we worked out, this may only apply to those who rock up unannounced, because we had an LOI, or Letter Of Introduction from our tour company, this made things simpler.

The procedure is simple, hand over the LOI, your passport and application form, then go to the nearby bank and deposit the required amount into the embassy account, then return with the receipt and pick up your passport and despite the rumours to the contrary, we could and did pay for an express visa! If we had known about this beforehand, we could have taken it a lot slower through Mongolia to get here and did less damage to our bikes and enjoyed the ride a bit more!!!

So, after paying the required amount into the bank(in my case $50, 30 for the visa and 20 for express) we walked down and found some proper breakfast at a cafe near the town centre, I had a Mexican omelette with tortillas, very nice 🙂

Then we walked back to the hostel, this took some doing on my part as after the first few kms, my leg and ankle started to hurt. The ankle was still sore and although the swelling had gone away, it still needed rest. My leg had a large lump on it just under the knee and it was painful to the touch, and the jarring from walking was not doing it any good. But, I did get there in the end with a few more pictures of the statue at the roundabout near the hostel. I think these are the local dogs, very ferocious looking! We had to go past the Black Market, but it seemed to be closed, basically it is a container haven where you can buy nearly anything.

I added the picture of the pub because there are hundreds of pubs/cafes etc in this town and 99.9% have the word Karaoke, so that means I am limited to 0.1% of bars to attend as I hate Karaoke 😉

The rest of the day was resting. I had work to do on the bike, but that could wait until tomorrow 🙂 I did have some beers that evening though and a nice Spag Bol which was one of many European dishes on the menu.

Cheers from Ulan Batar, Mongolia

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