It was horrible. 17 hours in a “PAZ” bus with my knees pressed against the previous seat. Of course, I failed to sleep during the trip, so I looked out the window, tossed and turned in vain attempts to find a comfortable position and watched movies on a small tablet. Early in the morning I arrived to UB (finally a normal shower!), developed some photos and had a few drinks in the Chinggis Irish pub. Today is the day of internet and image processing.
The next ten days I was hanging out in UB, enjoying civilization and processing more photos. And I wanted to go to Gobi. Finally I understood that the Gobi can be reached with Midkhat (and he did not go nowhere) or with an organized tour. Realizing this, I visited several hostels listed in the Lonely Planet and hung out there a message saying “looking for travel buddies for a Gobi tour”. Two days later we were two, then five just in a few hours.
No more hanging out in UB! The day before yesterday one of the messages hanging in me hostels in UB finally worked, and yesterday we started to the Gobi: a week tour and 7 people in the car, a Russian Finn, an American of Indian origin, a girl from Sweden, a northern Englishman and myself. We left at 9 am Mongolian time, ie 10 am from the g.h., spent almost an hour in a supermarket shopping for beer and cookies, and then an hour in the immigration office, where I hopefully will extend the visa for a week.
Yesterday was extremely unsaturated – after leaving UB we had a lunch in the open steppe, climbed a hill (from which other hills could be seen, and this is quite a diversity by Mongolian standards!), on top of which blew a terrible cold wind. At the Sunset the car broke down.
It broke down not at once. First came a sound from the engine. Then it grew louder and louder, until I realized that an engine in good order does not produce such sounds. Then the driver tinkered at the engine, without any success though, while I wandered around with a camera and ruffled with our guide – a sweet girl, who spoke quite good English, and (of luck), perfect Russian.
That evening, the car did not go far. We spent the night in the nearest tsayny gazar (~cafe), a surprisingly warm ger with carpets on all the walls and the inevitable TV.