Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A new bike!!!

Brand new but what a heap of crap it is, a red Mustang 5 and the pride of Chinese engineering. Shame then that the pride bit didn't extend to attaching the mirrors or footpegs properly, aligning the wheels or ensuring that the clutch works and doesn't jump out of gear every few hundred metres. But at least it is a bike, and we now have our independence back and can get on with our trip. The rental thing didn't work out, so buying was the only option. Had to withdraw a million and a bit tugrik though - so we were millionaires for about 5 minutes.

However, the day was frustratingly difficult and stressful and it took two full days to do a simple job. As with yesterday, we really needed to get out early, to the shop we had found the day before, buy a bike, then get US dollars and specific paperwork in order to get a Chinese visa on Wednesday. But that never happened and it took all day to get the bike business done. The shop had already told us we had to do this but could not/would not tell us how to do it, where to do it or how much it would cost. But we were advised to take a Mongolian to haggle on our behalf, and the two guys were great. A very kind gesture.

But after six hours of grid locked traffic and archaic banking systems, we finally bought a bike, and now have our independence back.

But check out the shop design – this is a place that sells bikes but was there a ramp or any easy way to get the bike out? Nope. And within minutes I'd been told off for not having a helmet on and Jamie ( brother) had had a fight with a pickpocket who tried to dip him.

However, as it all took so long, we still need to get dollars and print papers for our Chinese visa. Couldn't do that last night as we were so late back, and everything is now shut until Friday because of Nadaam. That has created quite a bit of stress for us because they will take our passports For a whole week – a document that we need to keep with us at all times. Bugger.