A long day of dust

Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
Tulga Altai

Flag of Mongolia  , Govi-Altay,
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Set off early after a beakfast of 2 cups of coffee. With sugar, just to add insult to injury! On the road by 8ish. Filled up with petrol. Set off and 100 yards later we were stopped by the police who charged us 1000 Togreg (about 50p) as a fee for going into a nature reserve/protected area. He spoke no English and allowed all the locals in without charging, so I wonder. However, we got a receipt, which shows that it wasnt some random bribe.

I drove, and the tar ran out after about a kilometer. But we had expected that so it wasnt too serious.

Stopped about 10.30 for breakfast of ProNutro on the side of the road. Actually at a fork in the track (did I just call it a road? My mistake) where there was a signpost! First sign of civilisation since we left Hovd! Spoke to a potrol tanker driver who was also going to Altai, he told us that he expects to get there by 10pm! We were worried!

Martin took over driving, in oredr to make the time up - he drives faster than I do. Amazing scenery. we were going along the lowfelt, with mounntains on either side of us, some distance away. Terrain varied from grasslands (with associated livestock every so often, including goats, sheep, cows, camels and yaks.) to rocky ground which supported nothing growing, either animal or vegetable. The latter was hell to drive on as the rocks protruded, and could be sticking up anything up to 6 inches and can be very close together, so its really rough driving. Of course there are always the dips and bumps which make it even worse. Really this is the worst roads I have ever drioven on in my life.

Just before lunchtime we saw a 4X4 speeding across the bush towards us, so wwe stopped. It was 2 men and a woman who wanted to see the car, but they were very friendly, gave us a block of cheese each. She even cleaned my glasses for me, which I couldnt do as I was so filthy.  When someone says you need a 4X4 its for the AirCon to keep out the dust! Took loads of photos, chatted (they spoke no English, as usual) and then as they were going she opened a bag of chocolates and gave us handfuls.

The dust too, by the time we got to Altai, we were filthy. The inside of the car is full of dust, its into everything, even the sealed boxes. Didnt stop the police pulling us over and demanding to see the papers. They cant read english writing, so I have no idea what they are doing, but they make notes, presumably for their superior to show they havent been asleep.

Booked into the hotel, Plenty of water today, but its just below body temperature. Needed a shower whatever as the water ran brown as I washed.

Dinner was a very pleasant mutton patty, egg, rice and salad. Tea as the hotel has no beer at all. All for about 3.20 for the two. Cant beat it!

Still feel dirt and we have to get into the same dirty clothes for the next 2 days. Well, there's no point in dirtying any thing else is there?

No wifi again, so you'll have to keep waiting, wont you!

Martin's myopic moment:
Cannot think of anything beginning with "m" which might enlarge title .Might come up with one later.In fact cannot see keyboard properly as eyes full of dust still.I must have special reserves behind eyeballs which top up main system when I've washed my eyes.
Anyway decided today that yes -  will write a book,well a travel guide.It will be based on the Lonely Planet series but retitled Baloney Planet and I will expose the euphemisms (?) used in the former series e.g. warm showers mean not quite as cold as stone blinking cold.Friendly countryfolk - look at you as if you have just fallen out of a tree.In fact only a tree would make them react in a more startled fashion.
These last two and next two days are really the journey from hell for Stanley.The trialling boys and girls will know what constitutes a hard and uncompromising surface.Like a 400K cattle grid.Axle tramp,bottoming out underguards getting knocked about. I'm always nervous about mentioning this but today we travelled over 400K and saw one petrol pup which sold only 80 Octane.We cannot comtemplate going that low,So,by putting extra fuel tank in yes we pay penalty in weight carried but we have range to get us out of trouble.
So the people we met in desert? Absolutely charming.Spotless and well dressed and apart from cheese and chocolate did offer to break open bottle of vodka.I felt a bit dafy declining on grounds that I was driving - it  probably helps to be blitzed faced with what we've got to do.So after making steering wheel gestures I made a scissors like movement across my stomach.The man nodded sagely.he probably thinks I work in  magic act.
And then the police who seemed to take a particular interest in us - more here than we've seen in rest of Mongolia.All very pleasant chaps but I'm afraid yours truly has given up to a running monologue outlining my present state of mind and body,reflecting on their total incomprehension of the documents they request and wondering really what they could possible do otherwise in this one horse/yak/camel/sheep/goat town
By the way every meal we are offered chicken and very often egg.We habven't seen the adult variety for about 800K
And to cap it all I think my mobile must have fallen out of car wityh all bouncing about.Unlike Roger I cannot bear to have stuff hanging around me and guess I know pay the price.So hopefully by time you read this you will know to contact me via Roger's until I can get one locally.
Mileage 448km  max speed 81kph  max elev 7290

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Emily on

No Roger, you called it a track. If in doubt, just get blitzed faced. Isaac blowed off today

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