Day 6 - China - June 15
- Created on Saturday, 15 June 2013 08:44
Erenhot: The bureaucracy slow us down!
We woke up early this morning, and we immediately started running to reach Erenhot. What a beautiful surprise to find well paved roads with four lanes, buildings and tree-lined squares. We did not think we'd have found this border town, especially after the rural landscapes that we have left behind us in the previous two days. But there are signs over signs written in Russian, Chinese and Mongolian and KFC to give a touch of internationality.
At the entrance of the city a "gate" formed by two huge Brachiosaurus welcomes us while dozens of prehistoric animals on both sides of the road accompany us to the border. At customs we awaited for our local guide, Roolma, ready to help us for completing all the customs paperwork and to allow us to enter Mongolia.
And it is here that we greet Carlo, because he cannot continue the journey with us due to work commitments. We regret, so much! Besides having been a good driver in these days full of toil, strains, technical problems and fatigue,Carlo has always tried to bolster the moral, smiling and encouraging, went the extra mile in every way to help the team and has proved an excellent travel companion. Today, however, is not a goodbye but a see you soon. Carlo in fact will join us once again in Ukraine to give us his help! Our adventure goes on even if today's stage is anything but productive.
Yesterday, in fact, we were too confident in thinking that documents for temporary entry both for vehicles and people would have taken us away just one afternoon! The reality was by far worse than expected. In fact, from 13:00 to about 20:00 we were stuck at the border waiting that customs officers would have completed the procedures of entry. Fortunately we have been allowed to "camp out" in customs offices, surprisingly equipped with air conditioning. But seven hours of long wait made us a bit impatient and have put a strain on our nerves.
At eight p.m. when we've been finally accepted in Mongolia, it was already very dark and the impact of poor roads and covered with sand was certainly not the best. No light as a point of reference, no sign to indicate the edges of the road, if you can define such the strip of sand that our pick-up and the bikes have covered. Nothing around us. Just total silence! Eight kilometers seemed endless and here, at last, we perceive a tented camp in the middle of nowhere. Nicola, Valerio there make their way with their bikes, definitely more comfortable on this terrain than our pick-up.
Arrived at the camp we were hosted into the typical Mongol Ger and then they offered us a great hot meal of mutton accompanied with a glass of milk .... of ewe! This is not the time to be picky. We eat greedily. The meat is delicious. Satiated we are ready to end this day.
Tomorrow with the day light will be a different story. We are sure and then also us, by driving our 4X4 we'll have fun as well as Nicola and Valerio will do on their off-road.
Path traveled today