The Mongolian border compound.
Because we’re importing cars into the country we had big fees we needed to pay. Luckily the company organising the Mongol Rally covers it… however it takes up to 36 hours to wire the money, so the border sets up essentially a refugee compound for the ralliers to stay in while they wait for the money. It’s essentially a concrete compound, that gets robbed my locals when everyones asleep. Anyone caught taking pictures was forced to delete them, so I’ve only got this one crappy picture… but you get the idea.
We stayed in the compound for a night as we arrived quite late and our paper work hadnt even been started. The evening was pretty wicked, there werent many other cars outside of our convoy, so we all sat around eating, drinking and freezing our nuts off for hours. Rus decided to stay up even later and do shots of vodka with the crazy kiwi guy, Tom and then decided to sleep OUTSIDE in nothing but a survival blanket and a sleeping bag…. no tent or anything. Hardcore.
The following morning Rus had what we suspect to be alchol poisoning and was in pretty bad shape for the whole day. So spent the day recovering in the car.
We were hoping to get out of the compound today, but more and more cars turned up. Some cars managed to get through within hours by just bribing the officals, one team payed $500 to leave in a couple of hours.
We were all growing impatient so a few of us went to investigate the paper work. We don’t think the guy operating the computer had used one before. A constant look of confusion followed by one finger typing at a incredibly slow pace. Painful to watch. Some people told him to move and filled out the information themselvs. Trying to understand Mongolian and fill out the computer was quicker than this idiot typing. While he was distracted others rearranged the pilce of passports so our convoy would get out first. We’re so badass.
Whle this was happening, Tom was dealing with his hangover by building a kite.
It became obvious we were going to be here another night. Earlier in the day we’d arranged with the local hustlers that if we were still around at 7pm, we wanted them to bring us a goat for $100. Which they did. Only a select few then got to go slaughter it and get it prepared so it could feed 20 people. So our small group headed off to this locals house to kill and gut it. Peter, a awesome aussie guy was our convoy had the honour of slaughtering it. Afterwards we went inside where we watched this guy skin, gut and chop up the goat. I must say it was very interesting seeing it all happen. Peter was handed the goat testicles and told not to let them go, as he’d be eating them later. Whoever kills the animal has to eat the testicles, as it’s good for your virility…… or so we were told. You have to remember all communication we have with locals is hand gestures and body language… so a lot can be lost is translation!
When the goat was prepared we then payed a local family to cook it for us and we’d pick it up at 10pm.
Back at the compound people had started the night off by cracking open a few beers, about the same time the border closed the compound gates. So getting the couldron of cooked goat back in may be a problem. An hour later, Tom, Dave and I headed out to check up on the goat and buy some beer. So we hopped the fence and headed to the shop where we met the local hustlers. We bought some beer and the hustlers stole some from the shop. We headed round the corner and had a beer and smoke with them in secret away from the shop. We joked around and were invited back to their house again for tea and to check on the goat. The tea was served with huge amounts of goats milk, but was lovely. In the house the owner showed us his AK47 varient and told us he shoots wolfs with it. After much haggling we agreed on $20 so we could each fire it! He eagerly went off to buy or steal some ammunition from a local. When he returned we marched on the out skirts of the village and took turns in shooting it. WOW! I’ve always wanted to fire an assault rifle and it was epic.
After the shooting we went to collect the vat of goat stew, which we carried back to the compound and had 6 people help lift it over the fence with zero spillages. Those who had chipped in for the goat all gathered round and tucked in. It was absolutely delicious and boiling hot, excactly what we needed in freezing cold tempreatures.
The following morning before lunch our convoy was let loose! We were free and quickly hit the road to make it to the first check point by night. There are 5 check points throughout Mongolia to the finish line, each just under a days drive. There you can leave your car, or get it fixed by a recommended mechanic.
Checkpoint 1, Ollgii
On the way into Ollgii, Harris decided to drive too fast down the dirt road and crash into a fellow convoy teams car. Smooth Harris. We did some make-shift on the stop repairs and everyone was good to go.
The landscape of Mongolia is pretty much like Lord of the Rings.
Arriving in Ollgii we found an Irish bar, so we were hoping from some wicked Irish stew. However, despite handing us a menu full of what is probably delicious food written in Mongolian we found only 2 things were available. This is to become the norm of Mongolia, restaurants only have a couple dishes you can actually order. We ordered by just doing a eating gesture and saying how many we wanted which is what we do when the menu isn’t in English… which it barely is.
After food we checked into a local Gurr tent camp where they had wifi and hot showers and huge Mongolian gurrs for sleep in. Was an experience!
The evening we headed out to a Turkisk restaurant and had a hue feast just minutes before closing. Afterwards and party crew, Tom, Dave, Rus and I headed out to find a bar or club that was open. The Irish bar was just round the corner so we headed there and we partied hard with a beer and being the only people in there.
We left and walked the streets trying to find somewhere open, everywhere was closed as it was gone midnight. Back to the Gurr camp for an early night then!
In the morning the convoy headed off for the second checkpoint.