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Tsaaganur and Olgii

August 21st, 2008 · No Comments

With team "Top Gun’s" Fiat Uno in tow, the convoy rolled into Tsaaganur, the first town after the border. We had planned to drive straight through, however when we discovered that the road towards the next town had had a concrete wall built across it we decided that it was best to ask a local. We found a chap on the side of the road and asked him for directions and for a mechanic to fix the hole in the Fiat’s fuel tank. Five minutes later we were drinking tea and eating assorted Mongolian delicacies with his family. Mongolian tea turned out to be thoroughly undrinkable, it is customary to supplement your tea with butter which melts and sinks to the bottom of the cup, making the last few sips quite unpleasant. The nibbles were equally disgusting: stale bread and a form of goat’s cheese that was so hard it could cut diamonds. Nevertheless we all did our best not to offend our hosts by consuming everything that was on offer.

That night the 11 of us shared a room in our hosts house. Despite it being freezing cold outside the house was warm, if not slightly cramped.

 

The next day Team Top Gun’s woes were not over so being the good sports that we are we left them to fix their prop shaft suspension arm and spring and headed off to Ulgii, the aimag’s capital. A 1 in 4 hill was supposed to be our first challenge of Mongolia. Luckily the old girl pulled through and hauled us up in a cloud of thick smoke. We had picked up an octogenarian herder’s wife who was on her way to Ulgii and needed a lift, as it turned out we couldn’t have done without her directions to cope with the hopeless Mongolian signposting and roadbuilding or lack thereof.

Olgii despite being the region’s capital is a desolate outpost which boasts one building with hot water and a medium sized statue of Lenin.We stayed in a ger camp which cost us 6$ for the night. The rest of the convoy caught up with us that evening and we all went out for dinner at a turkish restaurant, apparently the only restaurant in town which serves edible food. The remainder of the evening was spent drinking and playing card games.

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