Tuesday, 24 July 2012

UB round up

We finally managed to get our Chinese visas on Monday after much wrangling and pleading. We tried in the morning, but were told to come back in afternoon. So we had to waste the morning, and took Nadine's scoot up to the Ger where it is now allowed to rest. When we went back to the embassy, they gave us our visa's, but they took our train ticket vouchers and refused to get them back, so although we can now enter the place, we can't get there. Still if the worst comes to the worst, we will ride the new bike south to the border, dump it there and jump on the no 2 bus to Beijing Bugger, bugger, bugger. Then last night, all of our bike tools got nicked from the bike. It was our fault as we forgot to take the pannier in but it was parked on hotel property, in their staff car park, and out of public sight. So we now have to dismantle the two scoots with a hammer, a screwdriver and a fork. Think we might have to ask a favour of other bikers at the Oasis.
Met up with Lionel and Claude again Monday night and yesterday - two french bikers whom we met in the north a couple of weeks ago. They are going home tomorrow, so we all spent today sight seeing and doing stuff about town together. We took them up to Saizan, wondered through the State Department Store (GUM) and checked out the Winter Palace. Got stopped by the police Monday night,  and we had to produce driving and regos docs - the bike still has no plate so I tried to escape him but his mate jumped right in front of me so I had to stop. Played the blank foreigner look though and was let off. Got chased again yesterday but escaped through the traffic that time. Happy days. Still got no train tickets though!
We now have only 2 days left in UB, and so much to do. Of the most concern to us is donating this money that the motorbike community has given us. We have been trying since we first got here to make contact with the Mental Hospital, but no-one will tell us where it is. We were then informed of a school for the Deaf and Blind children, also a worthy cause. Problem is our contact is out of reach, and despite our asking several times over the last few weeks, help has not been forthcoming at this stage. We have made enquiries ourselves into VSO and other likely charity organisations, but as they are all British run, red-tape is quite the blockade. The other problem is how do you guarantee that they will use all the money for the children, and it won't get sucked into the organisation.

Aside from this major job, we have to take the bikes apart, and get them to the train. and then there is the train tickets for us! Don't know how that will go, but fingers crossed all will work out!!!