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Detained by the Military!

July 19, 2015 0 Comments

Well it didn’t take me three days in Mongolia to get us detained, near a military border gate close to the Chinese border. We had one guard stopping us and his mate lying on the ground with an AK47 pointed at us. Straight at us, 30m away.

I saw them up ahead, running down along the horizon, to the pillbox and gate. Near the gate one of them seemed to trip over, or lay down quickly. He was the one setting up the sights of the rifle on us. So we slowly got out of the cars and things warmed up from then on.

Cruising through Mongolia

Sorry folks! No pics of the military!

I was trying to do a shortcut to a place called Dariganga, from a place called Sainshand. I was using the GPS, not a TomTom, but a marine/aircraft handheld. The quickest route, the straightest, is along tracks and they get to within three km of the Chinese border.

It turned out we had driven into a military sensitive spot and were now under guard, while the guys inside checked our passports and carnets. They sent a soldier off on horseback and he galloped out of sight. We didn’t know if it was something to do with us or not. I hoped not – he galloped a long way away.

They said they would send us back to the capital, Ulan Batar, more than 600km away, to get permits and visas, but we couldn’t come back here as it’s a no-go zone. The other three PMFers were, now, laid back, once the guns were put down.

Then they changed guards! A motor bike pulled up, a bigger boss, looking at our papers, smoking a cigarette, no helmet. Handshakes and salutes. The boss put our passports in his pocket and told us to follow him. He went like stink, on a rough track, and we were flat out keeping up, until 20km later, we pulled into a military camp.

The boss gave our passports to a soldier, who got in with Barry and Donna and off we went for about 20km to another military camp. The soldier gave our passports to another soldier, in he jumped with Barry and off we went again.

We ended up with a 100km-plus escort through their facilities along the Chinese border. Quite impressive. They took us to a town called Havirga, to The Major.

Barry was taken in alone for an interrogation, which took 45 minutes.

Barry said it started rather icily. They had a female army captain, an English teacher, to translate, and Barry came out unscathed!

It turned out The Major is a good fellow and is coming to Australia, so we exchanged addresses. He wondered why we didn’t have a gun. He gave us directions to a good camp and off we went!

Tomorrow we drive to Ulan Batar, to sort out an itinerary and get permits, which are just for the borders. With China and Russia as neighbours you probably can’t blame them. Today was the first day in my life where I thought any of us could get shot.

Filed in: Diary

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