In Police custody
Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
109Trip End Dec 15, 2011
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Where I stayed
Went down the road to the bank to draw somew money, and discovered that the HSBC card is no longer acceptable. The ATM machine says that it has been refused by the issuer. Tried 3 or 4 times and each time its NO. The machine could tell us the balance on the account (sufficient) so presumably its not a communications problem. Sent a text to Jem to enquire whats going on. Hope something gets sorted! Shame to walk all the rest of the way!
Bought the requisite motor insurance (there's no word for insurance in my Russian dictionary), and some bread and cheese for lunch
Outside the hotel there was the usual crowd of onlookers including a tipsy Russian and the local parish priest, who was continually eating sunflower seeds and trying to teach me russian
Eventually set off Northwards. The road wasnt too good, but it was tar and not a lot of potholes, so with some careful driving, we made reasonable time. Stopped for lunch beside a river, would have been a very pleasant setting but for all the litter (including a huge number of vodka bottles) alongside the lay-bye. As usual, passers by stopped to look, take photos, and one woman came and plonked herself down between Martin and I so her husband could take the three of us together! not so much as a by your leave!
Pushed on south east and eventually got to Petrovsk, which isnt in the guide book, and has no details whatsoever on the sat nav. But it shows as quite big on the map. Asked the way to the gastonetsa (hotel) and got directions. Stopepd at the police station to confirm we were going the right way, and were approached by a young lady who wanted to take pictures. Unfortunately her camera didnt work, and we drove off after a few minutes, with her not sorted. She followed us, so we asked her to lead us to the hotel, which she did. As we got to the hotel, the one policeman came up in his car and told us it isnt safe to leave the car outside the hotel, and we should take it back to the police station, which we did. Locked the car in the compound, then he drove us back to the hotel with our overnight luggage
Had a meal, but we had to walk about a mile to get it. Nowhere else to eat apparently. Comprised tough beef with chips, and vegetables. We eat healthy you know. The vegetables were tomato, cucumber and pepper, all sliced on a plate. Thats what we usually get as vegetables!
Now its back to the hotel, and ready for bed. The clocks have gone forward ANOTHER hour, so 8 tomorrow is 7 body time.
Not much to report or comment on.Another day in the saddle on tough old roads.Daren't look at springs as there's not much I can do without major assistance.So no option but to close mind to situation and keep moving.Seemed to have lost quite a bit of oil though - another worry.
So tomorrow we should get to Cita which is the point in Russia which we would have reached had we left Mongolia by our original route,rather than heading due North from UB.This will be yet another critical point in the journey.Russian embassy in UK confirmed that road from this point east was "paved" in 2010 for approx 1400 miles.This is over half our remaining mileage and if road is not good we are in trouble
So we are staying in yet another "hotel" where warm water is available in room across corridor,no evening meal is available and breakfast is not provided.If only towels were edible.
The attention the car receives is quite alarming.If we pull up for any reason,cars pull in and occupants come across to have photos taken.People take pictures from passing car windows and young girl Roger mentioned above followed us for about 5K.Very unsettling.Rather than being flattering,it is intimidating.In a minoer way I suppose I begin to understand the resentment and oppression that celebrities feel.
Talking of which one of vodka victims (and there are lots over here) that came to talk to us this morning mentioned Prince William's wedding.I think p maybe it is me thats losing his grip.
Well off to bed - Roger might even beat me tonight and we'll see if tomorrow brings us the good road that we need and the embassy promised - I'll let you know.
Mileage 423 kms, max speed 87 kph Max altitude 3229 ft