Saturday, August 30, 2003  

Monestaries of Mongolia

Sound bites from a couple of monestaries from around the steppes:

Monestary One

and . . . .

(click to play)

posted by Shaun; | 7:58 PM


Crickets in The Desert

All around us in certain parts of the Gobi were crickets. Infestations of crickets. Apart from always jumping into our bags or tents they provided a very relaxing sound to fall asleep to at night. Here is a sample:

(click to play)

posted by Shaun; | 2:22 AM

Friday, August 29, 2003  

Only In Mongolia

What can I say . . . .

(click to play)

posted by Shaun; | 5:46 PM


Mongolian Children

All along the 2500km of road through mongolia we were always first greeted when we stopped by hoards of children that seemed thrilled to see us and took great delight in having their photo taken.

We were invited into their homes (not caring what their parents thought) gave us free food and generally kept us entertained for the journey.

Here are some photos of some happy and not so happy mongolian children..

posted by Shaun; | 5:10 PM

Thursday, August 28, 2003  

Local Music

Special request from my mother on hearing local music this one is for you Mum

(click to play)

posted by Shaun; | 3:56 PM


Mongolian Animals

by Max

Cool - I finally got a login so I can tell you all about the animals we have seen on this trip.

First of all we saw some killer whales in Alaska when we went out fishing with the guys. Also on the menu - cough - i mean tour was some seals and plenty of yummy fish. Along the way in British Columbia we got to see some deer and of course the occasional bear which looked pretty scary but i think I could have taken them on.

Once we made it over to russia we really didn't see anything for so long but plenty of horse flies and mosquitoes everywhere which really got under my collar.

When we were in Yakutsk we managed to go to a wild life reserve where I got to visit some of my relatives the siberian huskies, then we got a little too close to some reindeer who aren't really as good as we are at pulling sleighs - I don't know what santa was thinking. We also saw a mountain lion there and snakes and owls. But my cousins were the best.

Down here in mongolia we have seen the most animals to date with all of them of course interested to sniff me. We even managed to see some antelope in the gobi desert which were sooooo fast but shaun was able to keep up with them on the motorbike - they looked real yumm .. . um i mean cute.

Heres a picture of me with some camels that were obviously talking about getting me but I think I could have taken them on.

Matt also saw some Ibyx up on the cliffs somewhere but his camera wasn't working and as soon as it was the ibyx disappeared. Thought he was being funny he was - I would have taught him a lesson!

Anyways - here are some photos for all my . . I mean animal fans out there of mongolian animals!

bye - woof!

posted by Max; | 2:18 PM


Lost Russian

A Russian lost in the Mongolian Desert

(click to play)

posted by Shaun; | 3:53 AM

Wednesday, August 27, 2003  

Ulan Ude

Quickly Quickly

Ulan Ude is a rather big city (compared to where we have been so far) near lake Baikal that is full of life and noise (especially after we arrived with our loud bikes)

We proceeded to find the nearest Schlaschlick restaurant which we have found is the quickest way to met locals and find out what's cool and what's not (and where to sleep)

It didn't take long before we were all invited over to another table where the vodka was (as usual) shared liberally around.

Forgetting that we were there to find directions to a hotel, I started to enjoy myself and protested loudly when I was pulled away by the others to find what we were looking for.

Not long afterwards we settled down in a very nice old hotel with high ceilings which must have been built many scores of years past. Beds were surely comfortable though.

The next day I approached with trepidation the Mongolian Embassy and was pleasantly surprised as they could do it same day and for only (which seems a fortune these days) 60 USD. Easy come easy go I guess.

We left the following morning bright and early with henning sleeping in for once, which is a pleasant experience for matt and I who are usually dragged out of bed by the afore mentioned.

It was only 250 km but around 5 hours before we encountered large stockpiles of tanks, armored cars and other military hardware that announced the presence of the border with Mongolia.

The customs was a relative ease with a very young and sociable russian captain greeting us who also spoke very good english. The interesting story behind this is that according to what he said he was trained by the Military and was not aware what language he was speaking until he could speak it fluently when he found out quite by accident. That got us all thinking for quite a time.

Once through the russian side of the border where we had to quite reluctantly give up our Russian Motorcycle registrations we hit the mongolian side where we met an Irish traveller on his van that he had ridden from . . .Ireland.

He glumly told us that the mongolian side was closed and we would not be allowed through until the following day. He also mentioned that we would have to pay a re-fundable tax on our bikes to ensure we wouldn't sell them.

Just as he was mentioning this a group of mongolians ambled over to us where the quickly stamped our passports and pointed to the gates said that we were free to go. With an open mouth we smugly explained that it is always helpful to meet the Head of Mongolian customs on the otherside of the border before quickly escaping before anyone decided better.

And now we were in mongolia.

posted by Shaun; | 2:06 PM

Tuesday, August 26, 2003  

On the Train

From skoveradino in far east Russia, it was necessary to take a train past a small section of no road onto Ulan Ude. After our usual Russian language bumbling we managed to locate the train depot where the train was leaving the same day and unfortunately was already full, which meant another night in a comfortable hotel which was very much to all our liking considering we were as usual . . .Exhausted.

That night Matt had his tank bags stolen off his bike, unluckily for the thief they were just filled will very smelly clothes but kids will take care of anything.

The next day we headed down again to the train yard and had to wait a good 6 hours before the train showed up and we were allowed to board.

In typical Russian fashion only after we had boarded did the 'owner' of the carriage tell us the price which turned out to be 3 times what we had been quoted the day before. However with the help of a German speaking Russian missionary we were able to get this down to an acceptable price.

After tying our bikes to the inside of the carriage we settled down to a long and sleepless night with me sleeping right beside my bike fervently hoping that the bonds I had placed on the bike would not break. Luckily for me they did not, as I am sure that would be a rude awakening.

The next day we after a delightful journey we arrived in a small town which was clearly not Ulan Ude. Undisturbed by our protests we were escorted of the train along with the rest of the passengers and left to our own devices.

After figuring out we were still over 1000km from Ulan Ude we quickly jumped on our bikes and headed of into some murky rain clouds and what we assumed was the right direction.

Luckily for us it was and we made it to a small city called chita that night where we settled down comfortably in what was for us an expensive hotel - about $60 USD a night for the 3 of us.

The next morning it was still drizzling but with the help of the much better quality roads we were able to cover the extra distance before the end of the day to the comparatively large metropolis of Ulan Ude besides lake Baikal to spend the next 2 days preparing for the left turn down to Mongolia.

posted by Shaun; | 9:27 AM

Monday, August 25, 2003  

quick update

Shaun and I (along with Ilja, a fellow f650 traveller from Germany, and Roman and Mirella, a swiss couple touring the world in an old Fiat van that we met along the way) arrived in Ulan Batoor Friday evening after many an adventure. Looks like we just missed Henning, which was unfortunate. We'll be writing a few stories over the next couple of days and finish repairing the bikes after our ordeal in the desert. This is an incredible region and well worth a visit. We rode almost 2,000 miles but only saw about a 1/6 of the country. However, we've seen it all on this trip. Scorching heat and snowstorms; sand dunes and mud; broad flat plains and rugged mountains; primitive gers with solar power and satelite tv; ancient monasteries and soviet style apartment buildings.
After we leave here, we'll be heading to the Lake Baikal region. Ilja and I will race towards Moscow, and hopefully meet up with Henning there. Shaun is still planning to tour the 'stans and I hope to meet up with him in Turkey or Europe.
Stay tuned for more news at 11 :)

posted by matt; | 8:29 AM









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