At 10am, after a pretty good omlette breakfast at an Altai restaurant, we arrive at the garage which we discover is a graveyard for Mongol Rally cars. There are 8 of them.
A Mongolian who works at Air Mongolia during the week, but moonlights on Saturdays as a mechanic, says our alternator which charges the battery is dead. The real mechanic then arrives, removes it, tests it and declares it’s "kaput," the only word that he knows. Jimmy, meanwhile, is talking to a Mongolian friend in Ulaanbaator who is acting as translator with the mechanics.
Max is not so positive so they take it apart, study it and after 2 hours, put it back in. Then comes the major bad news. Our engine will not start.It turns over but the fuel is not getting to the cylinders,. .Max and Ed are now highly suspicious thinking the mechanic may just want to get his hands on the taxi.. It is now 1630 (4:30) in the afternoon. A representative from the Rally calls a friend in UB who tells us all we have to do is fill out a document, leave the car and take a bus to the capital. The mechanic keeps on telling us that we must take a bus and leave the taxi with him. First he claims the timing belt is broken, but instead of giving up we take off the butterfly housing and prove to him that it is not. Secondly he said that our fuel injection has been broken, but then there begged the question, how did we drive to your garage. He smiled and shrugged.
At 1930 (7:30pm) we leave for a quick meal, return to the garage where the mechanic is pouring diesel into the top of the engine and igniting it with a blowtorch. The fire spread to our air intake and panic ensued among the mechanics until the mother of the mechanic beat it out with her handbag.
The rather eventful day ends with the mechanic promising to return at 10AM to try to find a solution. This man is as crooked as his 24 carat smile.