Thursday, September 01, 2005

We have arrived in Ulaan Bataar

Bad hair day in Altay
Originally uploaded by myblackboxrocks.

Time of Death: 30/08/05 18:27 GMT+8

Final mileage: 8202 Imperial miles

Cause: Drowning and multiple massive impacts to engine precipitated by lack of suspension, functioning engine or tyres and generous offer of a lift to nearest town (Bayankhongor) in a functioning jeep – well stocked with Chinggis vodka and flowery paper cups (Thank you Saints & Scholars and Mongolia or Bust)

Nothing and nobody can prepare you for the amazing lack of roads in this vast country, or the incredible quantities of mutton and noodle stew. 7500 miles makes you cocky, and over the last month we became increasingly convinced that our Panda was not in fact a small, cheap and weedy Fix It Again Tomorrow, but an indestructable extension of our hands, feet and bums; a growling monster of a machine that would live forever.

Theoretically we could have had her fixed, the rims banged out yet again, the tyres resealed with inner tubes, the oil changed, new springs on the back and the camshaft bearing replaced, but as we were being towed behind a very luckily timed jeep, MBBR fm (88.5) shuffled and fell upon Yesterday by the Beatles, and so it looked as though MBBR's troubles were indeed here to stay... Better let go there and then and see some of Mongolia the sensible way like everybody else.

An 18 hour minivan ride with 18 people now has us in Ulaan Bataar which is very very odd. We just had a hot shower, ate a full English breakfast and some nice patisserie with black tea - without salt in it. There are plenty of other teams still here and it has become clear that our problems are far from over, flights are booked up as are the trains, there is talk of being smuggled into China in buses, trekking to Beijing surviving only on bamboo (not Pandas) and sneaking into the hold of a plane bound for Europe... Help!

More soon.


Anonymous Dan said...

Well done! If you feel like sharing some details, let us know!

1:59 pm  

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