It is a rainy day here in Ulaanbaatar Mongolia. I am very tired from a trip North from Ulaanbaatar to Sukhbaatar and return over the weekend.
I left last Friday the 24th at 3:15pm riding with friends in their very nice private car. We arrived into Sukhbaatar four and one-half hours later at 7:45pm.
We returned yesterday Sunday the 26th leaving Sukhbaatar at around 1pm getting back to Ulaanbaatar at about 6:30pm. The distance one way .. Ulaanbaatar North to Sukhbaatar is 345 Km or 215 Miles.
On Saturday we drove North from Sukhbaatar to the 200-meter neutral zone between Mongolia and Russia. I later found out that the Mongolian border guard was calling his superiors to see IF it was OK for me to snap a photo. It was NOT so I did NOT SNAP THE BELOW PHOTO.
So the bottom-line total was that we probably drove close to 800 Km or 500 Miles. Basically (99%) all of it on two lane roads.
My body does NOT need the approval of my mind to decide that it is tired.
So the rain and the somber gray day fits my mood to a T. How would I explain that term to one of my Mongolian friends I wonder silently to myself. How do I explain it to myself ?
My Building and My Street in front of My Building as it looked this morning July the 27th.
Sometimes My Street is actually dry.
Other times the sun-is-shining brightly and look below.
A beautiful reflecting lake in front of my very own apartment building here in Ulaanbaatar Mongolia. At least when the sun-is-shining my mood is far more elevated than it is right this instant.
The lane below leads directly into my building so it must be navigated by car or foot.
ALL of Ulaanbaatar was rainy and wet. NOT just my immediate area.
I had to go out into the rain and so I wore the below footwear. I was not about to get my running shoes soaked!
Today’s Rhetorical Question: Being exhausted from the weekend why-on-earth was I up-and-out at 9:15am this morning in the rain?
ENVELOPE PLEASE FOR THE ANSWER ..
I was up-and-out BECAUSE the friends with whom I drove North to Sukhbaatar and back are driving into Russia early next month. I would like to join them but I have been told by several sources that U.S. citizens can not attain a visa here in Mongolia to enter Russia. With the assistance of Deegi .. we decided to see-for-ourselves if I can get a visa to enter Russia.
In 1997 I heard this same thing (you can’t do it) while in Bangkok Thailand about entering Myanmar (Burma). I wanted to go to Burma. So after one week in limbo with all of this street-talk I physically went to the embassy myself. In count-them 38 minutes I had my visa and enjoyed a wonderful visit to Myanmar.
So out and off at 9:15am my host Deegi (DAY ghee) and I went to the Russian Embassy here in downtown Ulaanbaatar. I was really spooked out of my mind and only Deegi’s calm demeanor kept me from turning back and returning to my lovely bed on this rainy gray depressing day. As soon as I got into her car I started to back away.
“I don’t want the Russians to examine my wallet and all of its contents (money and credit cards and etc). I don’t want the Russians to explore my camera and its photos. I don’t I don’t I don’t ..” etc ad nauseum!
In Hong Kong I was equally apprehensive about visiting my own U.S. Embassy. They .. MY U.S. EMBASSY .. kept as checked items a bunch of my stuff so I figured so too would the Russians and then they would examine my belongings in detail.
THERE’S SOMETHING HAPPENING HERE .. PARANOIA STRIKES DEEP.. INTO YOUR LIFE IT WILL CREEP.. IT STARTS WHEN YOU’RE ALWAYS AFRAID .. WORDS FROM THE SONG .. ‘For What It’s Worth’ .. By the Rock Group .. Buffalo Springfield ..
Russia like the United States apparently hires primarily local employees. After gaining access to the Russian Embassy (I had told Deegi she could go in and I would wait outside in the rain then sanity returned and I went inside) we were greeted by a most pleasant Mongolian official. He said that “Yes I could get a visa.” and explained what-to-do.
Russia it seems has hired an outside firm to handle some of its visa applications.
So Deegi and I went to that firm (they open at 9am and at 10:15am were still not open) but after a short wait (while an amazing French gentleman entertained me with his own tales of world travel) I have an application for a visa to enter Russia.
I plan to fill it out and we-shall-see what we-shall-see.
To go into Russia in an automobile with a Russian driver as our escort is a once in a lifetime opportunity. One I do not take lightly.
Now I am going to publish this Post because I need to re-gather my wits about me (READ: I am going to lie down and take a very long nap).
As I sign off I now have nine hundred and two (902) photos to Post or not. I have Posted a little over two hundred (200) photos so I am still looking at quite a backlog of photos to deal with.
I think (after I sleep awhile) I will scamper over to bobbacaps.blogspot.com and put up a Post about my visit to the Chenggis Khaan Museum on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar.
Smiles from my digs here in Ulaanbaatar Mongolia ..
THANK YOU .. THANK YOU .. THANK YOU AGAIN ..
The English name of my host is Happy.
AND HIS ENGLISH NAME FITS HIM PERFECTLY!
Happy .. Just seeing your photo makes me very happy .. You cannot repay someone for such a favor so you do your very best to PAY IT FORWARD.
Smiles .. Cap .. aka .. Kanbaatar ..
- JUL 24, 15 .. WHAT DO YOU KNOW .. MORE FRIENDS IN ULAANBAATAR MONGOLIA ..
- JUL 29, 15 .. MONGOLIAN AIRLINES AND IMMIGRATION ..