Сайн байна уу!!
Our last days in China turned out to be fantastic. We rode on good roads with few cars only, and enjoyed spectacular gobi scenery. You may find it boring but for me this big piece of nothingness is more than just nothingness. It marks a transission to something else, something new! Culture changes, people look different, food tastes different…..and the scenery keeps changing. As we arrived to Erenhot, the Chinese bordertown with Mongolia we were greeted by a bunch of camels staring at us as we stared at them excited about how different we both look.
Poul and me spent 3 amazing rest days in Erenhot or, as the locals say “Erlian”. We got ourselves an official 30 day tourist visa to be able to get an extension inside the country which wouldn’t be possible if we would just get visafree inside the country. One day we rode to the border and were sent back to town by a young Chinese official who “did his job” and sent us straight back with a few words: ” Border closed! Go back.”
Ok mate. Just another rest day for us. SWEET! So we chilled another day in Erlian and celebrated our last day in good old china.
The next day greeted us with a dusty breeze as we stepped outside our hotel. Wow. That’ll be a rough day outside there in the gobi with this wind. But hey, we had to cross the border first and the wind could change in the meantime.
Knowing that it’s not allowed to walk or cycle across we still attempted to do so and rode our bikes right in front of the two clowns who were dressed in army coats even though it was way too hot. Well equipped with guns and all that shit, ready to defend against two aggressive cyclist, they made us wait for ages until we realised, these two bastards won’t make an exception for us. Fuck it. So we had to “rent” one of these old military Mongolian jeeps to get a ride across the border. That sounds comfortable right? But mate, it wasn’t just us in the jeep. There was a family inside too and all kinds of luggage, cardboard boxes etc etc. We had to take our bikes apart to be able to fit it inside the stupid car and all just to meet the regulations. However. After roughly 3 hrs we arrived to the Mongolian side called zaamiin uud.
We went to a local café and met a lovely girl who helped us with our first step in a new world.
Unfortunately the wind was stronger than ever and the forecast for the next couple of days was even worse. A classical gobi sandstorm. What to do?
I took a deep and focussed look on it and inside me too, and what I found was not a real desire to go out there and do it. I must admit that. There is no point in starting a challenge like this when you lack a real strong desire to do it. It’s just hopeless. And after the last week of headwind in china we were just kind of done with it and decided to take a train to Ulaanbataar. But again, iam still a bit sad that I missed this big stretch of the massive gobi.
The night train was a good experience though. Milk tea, a bed, and the sandstorm outside….sweet dreams mate!
We arrived to the cold capital and arrived at Froits place. Froit is a warm shower host and builds yurts and tents in his house. Very inspiring guy. We stayed with him, his wife and his son for 10 nights (!!) as we had to wait until we could pick up our passports from the embassy. In the meantime we explored UB and had a really really relaxed time all together.
Now we are right in the centre of the country already, enjoying Mongolian hospitality, good food, endless horizons and a wild wild country. There are eagles in the sky, yurts everywhere and mountain ranges in the far west awakening the dream of freedom.