We all woke up with a more (Eugen) or less (everyone else) headache from the Mongolian vodka that has been advertised as super premium but rather tasted super disgusting. Alongside we had an equally tasty dinner: Maccaroni with tomato sauce, ragout, peas, lentils, and a bunch of sand (from the rather stormy cooking site outside the tent). Considering the tasty goat meat dumplings we get served during the day at various “restaurants”, five days in Mongolia are more effective than any Atkins diet.
We played cards in the tent while waiting for the rain and storm to end, which it, of course never did. Everytime Eugen won in this (“purely luck-based” – quote Mathias) game of “Arschloch”, he celebrated like Austria just scored a goal in a world cup. I.e. he got really, really excited. Everyone else simply played cards (and thus lost).
As this exciting night approached its end, Philipp and Eugen again proved their inability for this adventure and slept in the cars, with the engines running so it didn’t get too cold. The Swiss army fraction and Matthias behaved more manly and slept in the tent which must have felt like a rooftop party during a hurricane.
In the morning, we burned our trash with gasoline instead of this safety paste you get at Chinese restaurants to keep the meals warm. Way more fun this way. We even burned the entire part of the bumper that some expert (Sascha) lost due to reckless driving the day before.
The driving started out pretty well as the Mongolians were kind enough to provide a highway or at least less bumpy roads for a few kilometers. We got to the city of Altay to fuel up and get new tires. This turned out to be a good idea: Philipp managed to destroy tires number 3 and 4 (and is thus the sole recordholder). On the other hand, it’s surprising that we only had such few broken tires. The roads here are among the worst anyone would consider movong any kind of vehicle on: sharp rocks, terrible vibrations when going over 15 km/h, several rivers, and countless potholes explain why a good quarter of the teams have to give up in Mongolia.
Another reason might be that the highway just ends in the middle of nowhere. And then there is a 5 m deep canyon. If going at 120 km/h at night (of course, there is no warning sign), bad things might happen to you – look at the pictures. Some dude couldn’t manage to break in time and landed hood first in the canyon. Blood and all his belongings were still in the car but we felt it was morally wrong to steal his tires – even though they would have been perfect for our Suzukis.
Even before lunch, the local hygiene standards had their first victim: Michel had less food in stomach than before lunch. While Philipp refused to eat any more goat meat for the rest of his life, the rest of the team enjoyed their goat dumplings with a full bottle of ketchup. Good luck, guys!
We the aimed for the city of B… (it’s impossible to spell that correctly) where they’re supposed to have showers in the hotel rooms and an internet cafe. While we all doubt that we’re praying that our cars at least get us there. The variety and volume of sounds they make start to get worrysome…
We’ll keep you posted on the progress – only two more days to Ulan Bator!