July, 16, 2014
At 9 am, I went downstairs to see if it were my cyber lucky day—no Sir. But I could sense some hustle and bustle in the hotel unlike other days. Rumor had it that the Mongolian border was open. In half hour, we were ready to evacuate China avec plaisir.
At the Chinese border control, we had no hassle. Thrilled, we entered the Mongolian border control. No one went through our bags. No questions asked either. Some officers doubtfully looked at us as we talked about our route to Ulaanbaatar, the capital.
Outside the border station, everything suddenly changed: bunch of people outside the gate clinging on to the vertical bars, overloaded old jeeps and SUV’s, and a sense of emptiness in the air that filled us with both relief and uneasiness—relief from leaving polluted China behind, and unease with the unknown Mongolia. A Mongolian elderly woman tried to sell us some sort of fried food in a plastic bag, a young student warned us of “Muslim terrorists” in the area, and a man gave us some tips on banks and ATM’s.
We had an easy ride to Bulgan, the first town thanks to the tail wind. In Bulgan, we used an ATM and changed some money in the bank as we didn’t know when we would see another ATM.
When we were at the bank today, we met a German scientist who was researching on water quality in agriculture in Mongolia and China. He invited us to have a drink in the evening. We accepted but only I met them at seven thirty in the only restaurant open at that hour to grab a bite and have a drink. We had a great time and some joyful conversation about traveling, and culture.
|Toward Mongolian Border Control|
|The German Scientist and his Girlfriend in Bulgan|