Well - the good news is, Molly, Grettle and I have made it over the border and into Russia! The bad news is that it’s pouring with rain and bloody freezing! We are taking refuge at the moment in the only café we have come across since the border on route to Ulan-Ude, where we are spending a night in a rustic little room above the café.
The lady here speaks no English and I speak no Russian so we have spent the last hour in confusion and in giggles, drawing pictures in an effort to communicate.
She is trying to tell me something involving my scooter, a back yard filled with 3 fierce dogs, a man and a woman and a truck driver with an odd mustache. I’m not at all sure what she is trying to tell me but I think it might be that we should put Grettle in the back yard with the guard dogs. When I looked a little concerned about this she became hysterical with giggles. I tried to explain that I planned to set off in the early hours and if Grettle is to be with the guard dogs, will I not be attacked when trying to retrieve her tomorrow morning? What I gathered is that I must knock on the truck driver at 5am for assistance but where on earth or who on earth this truck driver is I have yet to find out !
I have made a fraction of the distance I planned to cover due to a grueling 5 hours at the border. Having to explain my passport, Grettle’s passport and Molly’s passport took a considerable amount of time. Mainly this was because I had paid for Grettle to be temporarily imported into Mongolia and had been informed that on exiting the country, I would get this money back. It was taking so long and getting so complicated that frustration began to kick in. Molly and I were about to have to hop in a taxi with the customs officer back to the city to do ‘paperwork’ before a money transfer would be made from the border port I originally crossed into Mongolia at, to the lady at the port today, who would then give it to me. Having already spent 5 hours waiting, I told them to forget about the money and let me head on without it. Having set off for the border at 6am and Finally making it through customs by 2pm, followed by another hour trying to get insurance, I wasn’t ready to go until 3pm when typically the rain began and is still bloody going!
A few pics on route and at the border...
The forecast does not look good for the next few days but I’m praying for some break in this weather so I can make a bit of headway! There is a small boy peeing in a bucket beside me, Molly is sleeping on the sofa and there’s strange Russian music playing from a TV above the bar.
ANYWAY, Going back a little further, good byes where great fun, rather eventful and as expected, left me feeling dreadful the next day, so much so that I’m surprised I managed to leave at all! The night evolved from a very quiet get together with a couple of friends, to one with absolutely no sleep, copious amounts of booze, a lot of hairy Dutchmen celebrating Kings day, some epic games of Jenga, a 5” deep flood in my kitchen, and a sudden realization that I was supposed to be leaving in the midst of this bomb shell the following morning! Anyway, miracles happen and here I am!
I also managed to get a bit more work done on a plaster wolf sculpture for a friend in UB and sold almost everything substantial in the studio, so I suppose a little productivity amidst the chaos was had.
On the way to the border, Molly, Grettle and I had a lovely nights camping in the steppe surrounded by wild horses. It was Molly’s first night in the tent and consequently little sleep was had by either of us. Every time she heard the thundering of hooves pass by in the middle of the night, she would start yapping madly until I opened the tent flap for her so that we could would watch the goings on together until she had settled again.
Some time has passed since I started writing this what with this and that and Grettle is now in with the guard dogs but I’m still a little confused as to when the mustache driving truck driver, the lady, and the knocking on something come into play…and more pressingly, how I will retrieve her at 5am tomorrow morning!
Right then, well that’s enough for today and will fill you in at the next opportunity!