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Meeting the Military

July 23, 2015 3 Comments

Day 3 in Mongolia (19th July through to 23rd July)

Spent last night in Mongolian Grasslands – very peaceful night, great temperature. Made a coffee, had breakfast, packed up and hit the track or what we thought was the right track. No roads where we are and want to go in eastern Mongolia. Had to back track onto a more substantial track near a Yurt and farm equipment. Alan has a GPS and great sense of adventure – mind you his adventurous nature also creates some stress. Just prior to leaving our camp site he was questioning himself where the track was heading east along the Chinese Mongolian boarder. This is a very sensitive area and a very big ‘no go’ area. Little did we know we were way out in an area we should not be in without special permits?

Anyway, as adventurous as we all are, we headed off in a direction the GPS suggested was correct for us. Mind you, we are only 4km from the Chinese border. About 10km on our way we called into a Yurt to ask if we were heading in the right direction. Surprise to us a family emerged from the Yurt along with a Military person.

We looked like being held up for a while as the military man suggested we go back and that we were too close the Chinese border. He checked our passports and inspected our cars. We eventually got under way again heading back the way we arrived, until we got over a hill so Mr Military Man could not see us, then doubled back to keep heading the way we wanted to go according to the GPS east.

Another 10km along a north eastern direction moving slightly away from the border we came across a military post check point with 6 soldiers with AK47 rifles. As we approached from a distance we could see 2 soldiers with rifles running down the hill towards a gated crossing to stop us.

As we got closer we temporarily lost sight of one soldier. As we stopped at the crossing, one soldier came up to us with his AK47 then we saw the second fella laying in the grass about 50 yards away aiming him AK47 right at us. The 1st Soldier directed us (no English spoken) up the hill to a small building. As we turned 90 degrees to drive up the hill the 2nd soldier swivelled around (laying down) keeping his rifle aimed at us the whole time. The higher ranked soldier confiscated our passports. As I am writing this we are waiting for higher ranked soldiers to come back to us with our passports and Carnet De Passage documents. It has been over an hour now and we are still waiting.

During this wait one of the soldiers mounted a horse and took off over the hills. About 1 hour later a motor bike arrived with 2 military guys on it. They took our passports and through charade type signals got us to follow them on their motorbike to another military checkpoint.

Once at this next check point we had a short wait (still with no passports) and had a soldier jump in our car with us to take us to a 3rd check point. Again another wait and the same soldier hopped back in our car to move onto a town called Habirga. Here we pulled up at military headquarters and were instructed to park the cars. I was asked to follow 2 soldiers into the military compound and told to wait outside a Major’s office.

After about 30 mins I was escorted into the Major’s office along with 2 x military guards just outside the door. They called an English speaking interpreter to sit in on the interrogation. After another 20 mins I must have satisfied their needs and was allowed to go back to the others (still no passports). On the way out I asked where our passports were. They indicated in sign language soon. Once outside with the others the interpreter and the Major came out and inspected the cars. By now all was good and we exchanged pleasantries then moved on to look for a campsite for the night. That gave us plenty to talk and laugh about that night.

Last night was one of our best nights sleep we have had in the roof top camper – quiet, cool and relaxing. Some nights are noisy and broken sleep either by barking dogs, traffic, or local motorbikes but last night was great. I guess the Military made us feel at home.

Horses in Mongolia

Mongolian Horses Enjoying a Good Bath

Next morning we moved on towards Ulaanbaatar – about 550kms to go – found a great camp site next to a small river, grasslands full of horses, goats and sheep. Had a great meal and nights sleep. Next morning Alan and I decided to climb a small mountain (mainly rocks). We did this in the morning and took some good photo’s at the top. Then a swim in the river was on the agenda and some washing. We all decided to strip our roof top campers and air the mattresses and doona’s.

Sunday 23rd July 2015

Today 23rd July we decided to stay camped at the same spot. Alan and I decided to climb back up the same mountain only in a different place. We wanted to sit on a rock ledge half way up the mountain. We were unable to reach the ledge and just climbed up over the mountain.

Today was a good day being able to do some maintenance on the cars and clean up the car and its interior.

Tomorrow we will drive 150kms to Ulaanbaatar where we will start the paper process to get into Russia and Kazakhstan, this may take some time and we may have to extend our Mongolian visa’s to take the pressure off staying in Mongolia. Time will tell how long this may take. It will be a good chance to catch up on emails etc.

We are now in Ulaanbaatar sitting in a lovely club with music and lovely wheat beer.

Bye for now.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Lynn says:

    Apart from your brush with The Chinese Authorities, Mongolia sounds blissful

  2. Wazza & Ro says:

    Hi Guys,
    Life is never dull with you Guys. You appear to be having a great adventure, well done. All is good here. We are on our way home, in Coffs Harbour for a couple of days. Tony Dreyers mum passed away on Sunday. Keep having a very interesting time, We love reading all about it.

  3. Andrea & Mike says:

    Mike and I are still thinking about packing up our car and chasing you ;)… Love to read your stories, what an amazing adventure!! Keep enjoying the ride and say hi to all fellow adventurers :). Xxx, the Swissies

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