Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Day 168 – Tsagaannuur, Mongolia to Kuray, Russia - Sat 10 Aug

Day 168 – Tsagaannuur, Mongolia to Kuray, Russia - Sat 10 Aug
Sharp clear cool morning. Anxious to make border crossing today and to leave Mozzie World behind, so left wash and breakfast until later, and headed off to find Tsagaannuur.  

Took some criss-crossing to find road though pass in mountains. Beautiful purple flowers following stream; stopped along canyon road to wash as much mud off Ozzie as possible so it causes no holdups at border (although GirlRob’s swollen-shut eye from a mosquito bite might cause a delay in facial recognition…)

Stopped at picturesque lake with glorious reflections and marveled at the sight of a single white swan in Mongolia. A young lad came from the nearby gers then called his compatriots to try to fleece us for money and food.

What a sad little place we found Tsagaannuur to be, still surrounded by dilapidated fences and sentry boxes from old days of fierce protection of territory. Now it looks like it only serves to keep this small township in, and camels out…

Had some great notes from Guy, made the Mongolia to Russia border crossing much easier (will post in separate section). Took less than 2 hours, no queues, Russian staff very interested in vehicle. Ran across more of English rally vehicles trying to cross into Mongolia - they want to leave the vehicles in Mongolia for charities to sell at the conclusion of the rally, but the issue of vehicle import duty is holding them up. One group has been camped in No-Mans-Land now for well over a week.  We had our receipts from Lance/EarthCruiser, so no queries about "proof of ownership" this time. Amazing long distance in No-Mans-Land at this border, then between passport control, and customs. We would have missed the last stop (stamp and collect arrivals card) except it was pointed out by officer on gate. So we made it to the Altai Republic of Western Siberia! And three days before visa expired too!!

West of Koch Agach turned off the oh-so-beautiful bitumen to camp on top of hills facing snow-capped mountains with glaciers!! Fantastic views as sun went down. 


Did hand washing, and had to defrost fridge as beer and coke cans had exploded - constant movement of foods on top shelf on rough corrugations obviously pushes dial up to “high”. So we were more than thrilled by the fact that our travel buddies welcomed us back with a mutton leg, foiled potatoes and canned peas on a magnificent campfire! Drinks and catchup stories. Invited nearby campers to fire - freelance travel journalist Edo and Joanne his wife, a lawyer and their children Boris and Ester. The family had been given bear meat by a hunter, so they grilled it on our fire, and everyone shared it plus a local recipe spicy rice dish courtesy Joanne – lots more interesting travel stories around fire – we were all impressed with Boris' chronological memory. 

1 comment:

  1. You guys have really explored Mongolia well! I was there for 3 weeks in 2004 and fell in love with the kids there in Darkhan where we were, they were just so precious.
    Jas :)