Since I am no speed freak and also hate bad traffic since it freaks me out a little I really did love the “off-road” in Mongolia and was a little disappointed on the way to Ulaanbaatar when we finally hit the tarmac. The best thing about the final stretch to UB was the sand dunes. I got to ride the little dizzy on desert sand whoohoo, just a few meters up a dune but it was good and the dunes are beautiful.
Reaching UB was another story all together I thought Moscow traffic was bad but UB traffic is like nothing since at least in Moscow people are conscious of bikes and try avoid them in UB there are no rules and the roads are one big pothole with a few bits of road between. I seriously thought I was going to die. We got the guest house just on the other side of UB (The Oasis) and it’s great and had 3 rest days before the next big trip.
There are 3 ways to go into UB town from the guest house, taxi, private taxi or bus. You simply stands on the side of the road and put your hand out and if a taxi (and there are very few) comes past great. However generally ordinary people will just stop for you and offer you a life and charge a little less than the taxis. I needed to get to the Russian embassy to sort my visa out (could only get a 10 day transit visa but that will be another story) and on my way back took a bus. Hmmm well actually I took a moving sauna, it was raining so everyone was wrapped up and this particular bus was jam packed and it was HOT, so free sauna (I believe they’re healthy) I thought the London underground was hot and crowded. The traffic is so bad that bus crawls along it was quite an experience.
The other surreal experience I had in UB was a massage. YIKES if I was into some hard core S&M I’d have enjoyed it because boy was it rough. I walked in with a screaming headache from my neck problems and at least I walked out headache free but I think that is because it got scared and ran away. Not only was this massage rather thought but it was a full body massage as in front and back. I have never had a front massage and had to bite my lip to stop laughing it was so funny. Then she pulled my hair, I kid you not my hair had a massage as well. Ah well all in all I survived and afterwards felt really great.