We can only describe the last week as utterly chaotic. So, here’s a small snippet of what our life looked like these last days:
It all started in Ulan – Ude, our last stop in Russia. We wanted to take the bus to Ulaanbaatar as it’s much faster than the train. But the nice lady at the bus station told us: “Oh my dear friends there are no more bus tickets for this week!” I (Lisa) was still laughing at that point until I realized that we needed to get out of the country within two days as our visa would end by then.
So, we started fast walking towards the train station. Jackpot, we could still buy train tickets to get out of the country. Second class, expensive and, oh we would need a lot of patience. The journey lasted 24 hours, 8 of which were spent passing the border. First you wait 4 hours on the Russian side, where they check your passport, luggage and do an extra random check. After changing the Russian locomotive for a Mongolian version, you get a special treat: You can wait another 4 hours to do exactly the same security checks on the Mongolian side of the border.
Well, in the end, we arrived in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on Wednesday the 30th of August. Just in time to get the second part of our chaotic week started. First things first, let’s get our visa registered and extended. A must if you want to stay in Mongolia for more than 30 days. According to the Lonely Planet, busses 11 or 22 will take you to the immigration office.
It’s bus number 7 said a helpful salesman in the local shop.
After 4 number 7 busses that all took turns in wrong directions, we almost gave up. Until a friendly bus driver told us that it was bus number 4. Hooray! Learning how to pull your plan Mongolian style. But yes, we got the paperwork done.
Before we started on this trip, Remo did a lot of research about biking in Mongolia. As we met a few people who already did
such a trip and were extremely enthusiastic, it became clear to me that he wanted to put me on a bike and tell me to start pedaling through central Mongolia.
Easy Peasy Japanesey!
We just need to find someone who will rent us two good quality bikes and panniers for a reasonable (low-budget) price.
After more busses just driving in wrong directions, lots of walking, e-mailing, calling, help from Joel at the Trek
Bike shop and Murray from Fairfield
guesthouse, we (Remo mostly) succeeded in our goal! And so from Tuesday on we will be discovering central Mongolia on mountain bikes.
Well, that is if we can find the right bus at the bus station to get us to Tsetserleg (Arkangaj region).
*Literal translation of the Flemish: Uw plan trekken.
English: Handle it. Cope with it.