Dust, dust and more dust. Its everywhere
Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
109Trip End Dec 15, 2011
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Where I stayed
Bayan Bulag Hotel
Got up and went to see if there was any breakfast. After a lot of negotiating, we were offered bread, jam and tea, The tea was served in a pint beer glass, and the jam looked just like blackcurrant jelly. Where do they get the blackcurrants? Anyway, it turned out to be complimentary, so no problems there.
Went out to sort the car. It was filthy, dust everywhere. And I mean everywwhere. The boot had about enough to fill the pint beer glass and everything is covered. Shaking things doesnt start to clean them. Some of the locals pitched in and helped wash the car. although I'm not sure how effective they were. More of a novelty to them. Eventually got on the road by about 1.30.
Had to pay another toll - this time 1500 Togrogs. Not sure what its for, but its official. Tar road ran out afetr a short while so we progressed on the dirt track. After a while we noticed a motor cycle going along well, and reaalised they were on tar next to us. So we backtracked to the lastt intersection (about 1km) and got onto the road (dirt) which we followed to where we'd seen them. It was tar! Great! We drove on happily, and after about 500metres, the tar changed back to dirt.
Apparently the Mongols have a 3 year road program. We arent sure whether it started 3 yreras ago, and they have given up knowing they wont achieve it, or whether it has just started, and they are still in tthe planning stage. Eoither way, today we saw lots of evidence of road works, but no evidence of any actual work going on. The raod in preparation is there, gravel at this stage, with barriers across it every so often to prevent people using it. After all, we done allow people to drive on the roads we are currently making, do we? But then, if we left the works with no activity, I'm sure people would be upset. Any way, we tried to use the road in making every so often, and then had to navigate the blockages every so often. Some were easy, just a small dip to do, but some were very steep and didnt allow for our ground clearance, so were more trouble.
Other than that, an uneventful day, apart from a puncture. We have driven through cities and towns without getting a screw in the tyre, but here we are in the middle of the Gobi desert, and there's a lonesome screw just looking for a nice tyre to join with.
Got to Arvayheer, having managed to do just under 100 km on TAR!!! And its tar from here on!!! Cant believe it!
Hotel is OK, we are in the Lux room, costs us about £15 for the 2 of us. Shower in our room doesnt work, so we could use the one in a nearby room. Dinner was rice, veges and meat, 3 beers between us, total cost about £5. Not bad. However, no wifi yet again. So keep waiting.
Martin's missing moment:
I must conffess this is written two days late.Roger is an owl and me a lark when it comes to the old keyboard.By the time he has finished doing all that he does (and he does) its very often gone midnight and I'm bushed.So any way here we are.
Yes today was supposed to have been a nice easy day and turned into a bit of a nightmare - desert roads that we did not expect and that puncture.Thankfully we did not arrive in the dark as we had done the previous evening and fell into a reasonable hotel which a local taxi driver guided us to after he had understood what we were saying.Its all very well us pitching up asking for such and such a hotel that we have found by looking through the guidebooks (complete details of a country written by one or two people after spending a day each in about 20 towns) when the truth is that the locals have never had the need to use the place and almost certainly don't know of its existence.Imagine doing a Lonely Planet guide of Bedford.Now there's a thought.Tomorrow we have in prospect a 400K tarmac run in to UB.We shall see- I do not think I have been pleasantly surprised yet.
Mileage 232km, max speed 82kph, max alt 7114ft