Post # 117 Ulaanbaatar

Day 147 584 days to go. Distance: today 8km total 8213 km. Its 7pm Wednesday 25/4/2012 Ulaanbaatar. Rube and I have found ourselves on top one of hills that surround UB just in time for sunset yay. The hill is to the south of the city with the Zaisan Memorial on it’s peak built by the Russians to commemorate ‘unknown solders and heroes from various wars. It offers the best views of UB and surrounding peaks. To the west is the hill with the ‘Soyombo’ national symbol carved into it’s sloped side. This is the symbol on the Mongolian flag and signifies freedom and independence. The hill has a very clea path up it’s side and a prayer pole ontop so that may be us for tomorrow’s sunset. This is a very cool way indeedy to see the sun set on whats been a fun and productive day. Yesterday we went to the Kazakh embassy and was able to apply for a 30 day single entry visa to pick up this arv. Not quite what we had in mind as we wanted a double entry 60 day visa, but that’s all the consulate fella said he could issue so we took what we could get. I was actually just happy to get inside the compound as they wouldn’t let us in initially. I hung around and eventually this man from the embassy arrived and asked us what we wanted and made a couple of calls to get us on the inside. An hour later we popped out all done yay. The afternoon was spent doing logistics with a skype chat with my partner a particularly delish highlight. I’ve made a list of to-dos and will slowly chip away at that amongst fitting in some cool stuff to share with you over the next days. We aim to leave Tuesday 2/4/2012 westwards towards the Russian border with a whole lot of Mongolian adventures in between. I was hoping to do my post from up here but it’s too cold for the hands so I’ll head back to the guesthouse and continue there a bit more cozier with a coffee num num. be back soon x

It’s 8.30pm and we’re of the mountain and propped nup at the table to continue the post with a coffee boiled up using the multi-stove. One of my to-dos is to see how long a canister of unleaded fuel lasts so this was out second boil up and not yet dinted. Yesterday I plotted a route with distances between towns. All towns have fuel signs on the map so hopefully the one container will last the 2-3 days in between. I may yet purchase a second fuel bottle to cover the longer distances. I emailed Joal and Khaliun from the UB bike shop my route to get some feedback and haven’t heard back from them as yet but we should be able to meet up this weekend which will be good fun and a good chance to bounce off some questions and get some more info from a local perspective. I had an epiphany before just how much I enjoy and use this posting time to keep me on the sane side of crazy and grounded. Being in Beijing with the folks I got out of the routine of posting while we soaked up every precious bit of time together. Since ariving in UB Ive been very distracted with the Mongolian challenge ahead and keeping myself calm with doing my have-tos. Posting however is definitely not a have-to and its a real comfort for me tonight to acknowledge just how much this time means for me to share my day to day with you. Lots of warm and fuzzies yay 🙂 So after my skype yesterday I wrote up a palm card of the cyrillic alphabet and headed out into town to pay for my visa and do some shopping. I’m slowly getting my head around the alphabet and practicing recognizing the English equivalents. I went through all my gear yesterday in particular my clothes and decided I needed an all purpose jacket to keep me warm and dry when cycling as opposed to layering up with what I have. It does the job but is really bulky and arduous to get on and off so not user friendly for the day to day cycling in this moody wild climate. I tried on a few options and slept on it over night. I had another skype date this morning then went back to the shops and am now the proud owner of a purple Jack Wolfskin all weather coat. It’s very nummy and pretty. It’s stitched down, waterproof to 6000mm much like a tent’s rating and fits snug with a build in hoody. Ive taken a picky to show off the new purchase. It was $130 Aus (T160 000) comparably expensive here but not compared to prices at home so again money well spent yay. Getting me to spend dollars is like pulling teeth and I definitely don’t suffer impulsive shopping. I had the choice of red or purple but it’s very uncool to wear the same colored gear as those you travel with so Rube and I are together in all our individuality glory ready to tackle the dodgy roads and conditions that lay ahead 🙂 I collected my Kazakh visa today hassle free and sent an email off to the travel agency in Almaty who I have been working with during pre-trip planning. I hope to have a few options on how to manage the Kazakh visa once there so I’ll wait to hear from them to see which one is a viable and recommended option. It’s just a relief to know we can cross the Russian/Kazakh border on the 14/6/2012 and take it from there. With my Uzbek visa I’ll have 57 days to plan something awesome for the Stans. Time wise that’s not so far away but what’s happening in between is a huge expanse of unknown and unplanned adventures. The nerves are spiking with excitement now I feel ontop of logistics and can see what I hope will be a safe road ahead starting next Tuesday. I popped into the bike shop today to buy some more tubes and say hi to Nyam Purev. We ended up spending over an hour together using his translator, photos and drawings to share some stories. He had his camera there and I had my little family brag album so there was lots to share over a ‘mongolian cola’ his shout. I gave him the other half of my Gatorade container opting for half to keep the weight down and he thought it was Christmas. Nyam is a real sweatie. He is 27 years old and lives 10km away cycling downhill to work and uphill home each day. He said the picture of our home was his dream house 🙂 Him and his partner and 3 dogs live in the country. Nyam explained that Mongolia is 60% countryside, 25% cities and 15% small townships. They love the fresh air and space of the country but may move to a town in the future when they have enough money. Now they live in a small house with a fence around. I took a photo of his drawing of their home. Before we headed he took Rube for a ride and gave her the thumbs up saying how very cool she is. Rube kept raving about her new boyfriend all the way up the mountain this arv. I carried her up the flight of steps to the monument on the top so we could share the views and it was ‘Nyam this….Nyam that….. 🙂 This was in between her cracking hand bag jokes as I carried her on my shoulder. Love my very cheeky girl!! The photos from the top are great. The views are out over the city and surrounding mountain ranges. There’s a huge golden Buddha statue and landmark which the sun was setting behind on the way down. I got some good photos with the statue looking out over the industrial side of UB. It looked pretty ironic with serenity v’s industry v’s the natural beauty of sunset and made for an interesting picky. I’ve read briefly about some amazing monasteries in town and there’s a walking tour in the Lonely Planet that takes you passed the highlights. That’s definitely on the cards over the next days. It’s after 10pm when the internet place closes so Ill upload the photos tomorrow. The fella who runs the guesthouse just popped in and was very curious about the multi-stove. He was all hands on deck wanting to turn it on and light the petrol eeeeeeek. i jumped in and gave him a demo on how to light it and got the thumbs up without blowing the place up which is always a bonus. One of the students translated as best she could about me trying to find out how long a canister of petrol will last and I think he got it. So that’s me for tonight. I sent some family emails earlier today and still want to reply to emails from friends but I may leave that ’til the morning. Sounds like a pretty nice way to start a Thursday emailing my buddies back home. Time for a late dinner snack. Talk soon x

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About shecyclesolo

If you could dream up the most wildest adventure imaginable what would it be? Between jobs and craving new experience, I decided to indulge the challenge. This is what I conjoured with a promise to come home safe and smiling. I hope you enjoy the 1080 days of stories as much as I will sharing them. "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.' H D Thoreau

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