Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Days 155 to 157 – Around Murun - Sun 28 to Tue 30 Jul

Days 155 to 157 – Around Murun - Sun 28 to Tue 30 Jul 
Sunday: Found out that the locals call their town Murun (“Muroon”) so we will change to its more respectful title. Measured all springs and holes meticulously, photographed on iPhone and wrote lengthy email to Carrolls re the customised EC springs required (replacement plus front/rear hanger spares with bushes), nominating John M as our Aussie liaison. Nothing could be done today of course as business in Australia closed for weekend.
Were entertained by woman washing clothes in river, spreading all out on grass and bushes to dry, all the while singing with 3-4yr old boy skillfully rolling heavy tyre up and down “beach”.
We were adopted by an undernourished dog with the shakes. A goatherd and his flock grazed by, and a herd of horses drank and washed nearby in river, then rolled in dust. From mid-afternoon there were a succession of people walking, on bicycles, motorbikes, horses or cars coming down to wash self and clothes in the lazy waters.  We connected with Miles on satellite phone to let our travel buddies know our status.
Finally had our pasta – shifting between indoor and outdoor stoves due to strong winds and showers. Guess we’ll be settling in to this pattern for a while…
Monday: Sorted spring order through Carrolls, emails with John M and their workshop manger re delivery logistics through Mongolian Star Melchers to process easily through customs (otherwise person named on package has to claim/pick up, in Ulaanbaatar). We agreed not to wait for springs to be painted, so they’d leave Australia quickly. 
Heard shocking news of death of a family member - calls and messages to Australia – felt very far from home.
Used bucket to wash Ozzie, a couple of under the weather guys came up for a conversation re our map and their hero Chinggis Khan. Later a father and his two teenage daughters walked around back of EC as BoyRob was having outdoor shower - stood there trying to understand his English (which was "No, No! I've got no clothes on!")
Went into town and filled up at water station using shower pump and bucket -sparkling clear and icy from underground (and winter permafrost!!) only charged 100TGs to fill up. Called Miles with daily update, our travel buddies have offered to wait with us but there’s no need for us all to suffer… they’ll be back in Moron Wednesday morning ready to turn west.

Tuesday: Rain, mist, cool. Enjoying sleep-ins and break from driving. Springs will leave Australia today – fast action! BoyRob measured and drew diagram of bracket for spare springs to sit on back of vehicle above the MaxTrax. Patted calves and yak-cows, and watched antics of butcher bird look-alike, with a long iridescent tail. Heard that springs won’t arrive UB until next Monday – spirits down again. Our Mongolian visa expires 14/8, so parts will need to arrive in Murun, be fitted and we depart in 2 days, to leave a week to get to border. Drove into town and tried internet cafe, chock-a-block with young men playing video games in a stuffy dark back room – too creepy for GirlRob. Fortunately both Mongolia Telecom and MobiCom have free wifi (but no spare power outlets). Searched for English speakers to help translate instructions for replacing springs and to fabricate bracket, and finally stumbled across badly signed Tourist Info! Two helpful blokes pointed us towards a local, Sara, and we made an appointment. Went looking for BookBridge a library of English books, but "closed till August"... slow day, but our late afternoon rainstorm arrived on time. Had fun trying to order a vodka and orange to waiter - GirlRob mimed "little" vodka, "lots" orange juice. He came out with a new bottle of Chinggis, opened and a half glass poured, and with small plastic bowl, no juice, then went off to serve someone else. GirlRob had to go over behind drinks bar and get juice, tip most of the vodka into the bowl and start fresh to mix her own! 

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