THIS POST IS now finished.
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I am now safely back in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
I debated, should I / or shouldn’t I call this Post .. FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE .. Part III.
Getting home from a trip is part of the trip so Part III it is. I will certainly be publishing future Posts about my visit into Russian Siberia.
I had a comfortable stay in Sukhbaatar. It was sort of a mixed-bag if you will. To be honest I was a smidgen-past-the-point of utter exhaustion.
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Let’s go way, way, WAY back in time to last Friday evening, the 4th of August.
It took us (Saina, Deegi, Cindy and me) at least over three (3 got it) and one half (3-1/2) HOURS to cross the border from Russian Siberia back into Mongolia.
As with any International Border Crossing, you have two completely different processes to endure.
Process One : Leaving Russia.
Process Two : Entering Mongolia.
I did NOT, I did NOT, time each separate process.
It may well have been closer to four (4 got it) or more hours.
I texted Patti ..
19:24 Hours .. “We’re on the border 7:25pm Friday. We are about to begin the process of first leaving Russia & then entering Mongolia. I’ll text U when at my hotel. Love U Cap”
19:56 Hours .. “Long line of cars & trucks. This is going to take time. 8pm Friday night is not 4am on a weekday Wednesday morning. So don’t expect a quick text. PRMe. Love U”
We entered Russia last Wednesday, a weekday morning, at about 4am. Our entry process was light-years faster than our exit process was on a weekend Friday evening.
21:23 Hours .. “We have not moved one inch in 1 hr 22 minutes !! No movement !! An adventure !! Love You .. Cap”
As I now do the math, I first texted Patti at 19:24 Hours. This text was at 21:23 Hours. In it I said we had not moved in 1 hr 22 minutes. It was actually 2 hours with not so much as one inch of movement. I asked Deegi, “Is it always like this?” Without answering me, Deegi just shrugged her shoulders. Saina was sleeping in the back seat. Deegi behind the wheel. And I was out wandering around. Up to the front of the line and back. Visiting (using sign language) with others.
To Assume (spell it : Ass u me) and to make Assumptions will make : an Ass (out of) u (and) me.
As I was entertaining myself, walking hither and walking yon, socializing, and often using a tree perhaps 100 metres away..
I was ASSUMING..
Now get with me here..
I was ASSUMING
That when the cars began to move past the massive gate / horizontal pole before the immigration buildings / area..
The cars (there were trucks also) would move one-car-at-a-time. With this assumption in mind, I knew that I would have no problem ‘catching up’ to our car if / and when it moved forward (its one car length).
Luckily Oh-My Oh-My, luckily God began some very light rain sprinkles, enough so that I got back into our car.
Suddenly (after several hours).. With me IN the car..
Stop lights ahead of us began to light-up and the cars began to move forward.
The Good News : About fifteen (15) cars moved forward past the gate en masse. They did not move one-car-at-a-time. They ‘motored’ right on forward.
Had yours truly been off somewhere, horse’g around, what would have happened when the cars began to suddenly move forward en masse and not one-car-at-a-time and I was not with Saina, Deegi and Cindy.
The Other News : We were car number 16. A stern looking uniformed employee made it clear to Saina STOP. He did. Down came the pole. The massive gates shut. We were now at the very front of the line.
The Other News : A line crasher ahead of us (there were two lines of vehicles) broke into our line from the line on our right. He was the car that prevented us from making the first batch into the processing area.
Then, it wasn’t all that long, say 20-minutes, the horizontal pole slowly rose, the massive gates slowly opened, and into the staging area we drove.
Each and every car was inspected. We then drove forward into a single line. Each and every person stood before a border official and was processed. Happily Deegi was with me and translated who I was, why I was in Russia etc.
THEN came entry into Mongolia. The Mongolian official wanted to know why my passport had numerous entries into, and out of, and back into Mongolia, dating to July 16th 2015. He surmised (on his behalf correctly) I was no ordinary tourist.
Deegi spoke to him. He said in good English, “You are his responsible person?” .. Deegi nodded in the affirmative. It was more challenging for me getting back into Mongolia than out of Russia.
00:19 Hours .. As I begin it’s 12.12am Sat’day morn’g. I’m safely in our room in Sukhbaatar. I could write a book but got thru OK & that counts. I’m exhausted. Love U Cap”
Saina, Deegi and Cindy dropped me off at my hotel in Sukhbaatar. Then they drove back to Ulaanbaatar some 5 hours.
I debated just riding back with them but opted to stay-with-my-plan and spend the weekend in Sukhbaatar.
I am not going to discuss my visit to Sukhbaatar at this time. I will do so after I go back and publish a Post with more details about my visit into Russia.
I left Sukhbaatar at 7:15am (set your watch on it) this morning, Monday the 7th of August by train.
Below the Sukhbaatar Rail Station, city side.
Below the Sukhbaatar Rail Station, train side.
My beautiful train ready and waiting for me.
First Class. I had no other travelers in my cabin for the entire trip. Very nice.
This was nice to see. It is not uncommon in Mongolia to not allow smoking indoors.
Taken from my cabin as we left Sukhbaatar station. Can you all see my sweet little hotel in the far background?
The map below shows the city in which the following photos were taken.
It is an immaculate station.
It is satisfying to me to see such crowds using the train.
Nice day. Nice train.
When I arrived into Ulaanbaatar, Saina braved the below traffic to meet me.
There you have it. Another amazing and fascinating day.
Smiles and Gratitude.
- AUG 6, 17 .. WELL WHAT DO YOU KNOW
- AUG 8, 17 .. YOUR CAPTAIN AND THE ULAANBAATAR LIBRARY, COMPUTER-ROOM, MATRON