Back to the capital and preparations for our journey to China
16.07.2011 - 16.07.2011 30 °C
After a relatively warm night we awoke once again to the eternal blue sky. With a six hour drive back to the capital to look forward to we needed petrol. Since filling up the day before the pumps were dry and so we would need to, hopefully, fill up later in our journey.
Once outside Kharkhorin the road soon turned from dirt to tarmac. Yet, with bridges set at a different height to the road and large random potholes requiring constant vigilance this was not ‘easy’ driving for Hasha. Possibly, tired from the previous days driving we hit one pothole hard. Having sustained a puncture two days previously, just as we rolled into the Hot Springs camp, that had been ‘plugged’ in Tsetserleg we suspected that the force we hit the hole blew out the plug. However, whatever the cause for the second time on our relatively short road trip we were running on a poor quality spare tyre.
However, one thing that Mongolia does not lack are tyre repair centers. None seem to carry replacement tyres. They just repair. Stopping in Lun, once again, for lunch Hasha had our tyre repaired and was able to purchase sufficient petrol to get us back to the capital.
Returning to Ulaanbaatar the green, grassy countryside continued to roll by. Apart from nomadic Ger camps and animal herds all that punctuated the landscape were sporadic ovoo. These shamanistic collections of stones, wood or other offerings are found all over Mongolia, particularly in high places. If we passed one, without stopping, Hasha would blow his horn three times. Where we happened to stop an offering, often a stone, would be added to the ovoo and then a wish made whilst circling the stones three times, clockwise. This we had undertaken on a number of occasions and today was no exception.
Earlier than expected the ugly, concrete of Ulaanbaatar hove into view. With passports to collect (replete with the necessary Chinese visas) supplies required for the train and postcards to send our remaining time in the capital was productive. Early the next morning we would board the Trans-Manchurian express bound for another capital city and the final section of our train journey across Russia, Mongolia and China.