Headed for the Border! Mongolia to Russia!

More, Gorkhi Terelj National Park

CLICK HERE <--- to see the full travel itinerary We decide to forgo the 30 US per person breakfast and hope to find a traditional Mongolian breakfast on the road. The plan for the day is to head out to the Giant Metal statue of Chinggis Khaan. This is the Mongolian and proper spelling, some where along the way the Chinese, out of disrespect, changed it to the now familiar spelling fo Gengis Kahn. Anyway we found a great little spot for breakfast just overlooking the statue. We had a typical hearty Mongolian breakfast. Mutton soup and fried noodles with beef. The Statue was gigantic! The pictures do not do it justice. I'm talking Statue of Liberty Big! We pose for photos, and head back to Ulaanbataar, where we will take the road towards the Russian Border. We plan to stay on the Mongolian side tonight and get an early start in what is always a tedious process, border crossing. I have written about border crossing in the past but here is a brief review. When leaving one country to another it always starts with immigrations first for the person then its off to customs to clear the Moto. Customs is basically immigrations for the bike. Then you enter no-mans land between the two borders and start all over again to enter the new country. I always count on at least four hours to complete. But you never know what to expect until you get there so its not something you want to start late in the day. Borders are rarely open 24hrs and you don't want to get processed out of one country and get stuck in no-mans land overnight. Its a beautiful day and we bypass most of the horrific traffic in UB (Ulaanbataar) the road is decent two lane with less and less traffic the farther we get out of the city.

The country side was expansive, blue skies with big puffy clouds and green everywhere. We see lots of herds of sheep and horses, always tended by the traditional nomadic Mongolian. Everybody makes lots of roadside stops to shoot pictures. One of the other changes from last years China expedition was to have shorter days and take time to smell the roses. Border towns… always basically a shit hole where people survive off travelers either crossing too late or trying to get an early shot at the border crossing. We are crossing at the Kjahta border, we get into town about 7 pm and see a guest house that might
be our lodging for the night. I stop and head in to see if there are any rooms at the Inn and find a plump little Russian woman who knows as much English as I know Russian..nada.

So we both go into to a situation lacking language skills and start miming out what we both need to know. Yes, she has rooms and then pulls out her international money translator used around the world to tell you how much your gonna pay….a calculator! 20,000 Mongolian! About 17 USD. The boys are ecstatic!! While the guys are unpacking, Eric and I take a ride down the road towards the border about 150 yards away. The border has closed and there are already about 20 trucks and cars in the que. We ask what time the border opens and find out its 8am. Back to the guest house to unload bikes, shower and eat. Up to my room and its not so bad, little bit funky with just a slight moldy smell, little toilet room but no shower. I start making my I need a shower moves and get nothing?? So then I say douche and she smiles and says yes, yes, douche! She motions me downstairs and around the corner outside. The guys are already in line. You see its the public shower, only 2000 Mongolian and no hot water but you get to use it. I decide on a Wet Ones shower and meet the guys down stairs for dinner. Chris is sitting there with his big smile and enjoying a beer. I make the sign for me too and then its what are we having for dinner? A menu appears and you guessed it..its in Russian with no pictures. Chris and I start making farm animal noises as to what we might like to eat and the young girl figures out that moo moo probably means beef. She says word goulash!

Both Chris and I agree yes, yes. As each one of the guys shows up everybody agrees goulash it is. Then Chris Makes the motions and sounds of a chicken and mimes the cracking of an egg, then flips his hands over to sign that he want them fried. It’s all part of the adventure tour! Ok, its 12:15 am and we got an early start so I’ll fill you in on the border crossing tomorrow.

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