So not being impressed with someone breaking my bike we all break camp and get ready to leave just as two Mongolian border guards arrive and demand our passports. They are clearly not happy keep our passports and demand we follow them. Not speaking Mongolian we try ascertain what the problem is waste a lot of time but realise we must follow them, thinking they want us to leave ASAP and get to the road where they will return our passports. We get to the main road and get told to follow them in the opposite direction to the Russian border where we want to go. We (I keep on saying we but what I mean is Jeff ) try in vain to get our passports back and go to Russia but after cocking his AK47 (hmm is that the right term? do you cock and AK47, well basically he put a round in the chamber and tried to look mean) and looking like he means business we sigh and follow the guy all the way to the border post in the middle of nowhere. They basically make us sit outside next to the 4×4 and wait…and wait…and wait, not really understanding what the issue is but having no option we wait.
Jeff finally ascertains that the problem is we camped in the wrong place according to them it was a border no go zone…hmm strange considering according to the GPS coordinates we are 50 km from the border and 500m from the maid road. However the border guard who has made a mistake won’t now admit it and has called his senior officer who needs to come in from the barracks so we wait…and wait… and wait. The big boss arrives and the situation is still not cleared up due to no one speaking Mongolian but we are told to follow the big boss back to the barracks where he will speak to the even bigger boss and get an interpreter.
Well we head to the barracks in the nearest town still in the opposite direction of the Russian border. We FINALLY get to speak to the big commanding officer through an interpreter and explain that we did nothing wrong, there are no signs indicating this was a red zone near the border (50km from the border unlikely but we had clearly been stitched up) needless to say the big chief had better things to do than seal with us and told us not to camp there again and basically pi.. off, so we did 3.5 hours wasted.
Knowing what Russian borders are like we were not looking forward to the border crossing especially after a 3.5 hour delay. WELL we could not have been more wrong. The Mongolians let us jump to the front of the queue and we got though in an hour, we still had to fill in a number of stupid forms but hey we’re not complaining when it takes an hour. Then the Russian side of the boarder OK so we steel ourselves ready for the red tape onslaught. We get though the passport control and get sent to customs. We walk into the customs office with bated breath … here it comes … two ladies with big smiles greet us and ask us to fill in the forms and help us fill them in… erm are we in Russia? are these ladies on happy drugs? Are they imposters and not Russian perhaps? WOW we were gobsmacked these ladies were so nice and when they said goodbye and good luck we nearly passed out. LESS than an hour on the Russian border this is surely an all time record. So we get Back in the USSR (well ok not quite the USSR but you know what I mean)
We finally arrived in Ulan-Ude which will be our last hotel stop for at least 9 days, from here we tackle the BAM road!!!