On Monday – April Fool’s Day – we had a second meeting at the school. We were told that the school manager had asked her boss if the school could extend our visa to let us travel to the countryside after our studies. The answer “It is impossible.”
Now this is not true. It is possible but they will not do it. We asked what would happen if we wanted to leave the country and were told that our exit visa would need to be arranged and for this to happen we have to pay 70% of our unused lessons = $945!
Big sigh. We asked for an extra day to think about this new information and on Tuesday Tim and I went to the British Embassy and had an hour’s appointment with Consular Services.
We now know the following
1. We can do what we like until 1st June – we do not have to study at the school but if we did not turn up/pay then we would have problems from them getting our exit visa.
2. We have to have an exit visa from the school to leave the country or a letter from them releasing us from their responsibility.
3. To stay we need a new sponsor to extend our visa from 1st June. This is easier said then done!
The current plan is to canvas tour operators and guesthouses to see if anyone will help. We don’t just need the extension we also need drivers and train tickets so we do want to use their services.
Jan Wigsten of Nomadic Journeys is arriving in Mongolia next week and we plan to meet to discuss our possible options.
I have been in email contact with Jan for months now and he has been extremely supportive and is full of local knowledge. It is also through Yan that I found out about a husband and wife horse training team who have a solid reputation. I have spoken with the wife, Densmaa, but right now we are in limbo so I cannot take this relationship further.
Tim and I discussed options again last night if we have to leave at the end of May. We wondered if we could lay low in South East Asia, living cheaply, maybe studying another martial art, until next spring. We would then attempt to get back into Mongolia on a three month tourist visa or find a sponsor.
Yesterday we headed back to school to finish our Mongolian language studies; five days a week, three hours a day. Doing this buys us another seven weeks to research our choices.
One thing is for sure, we will not give up on our dream to become long riders and I will not give up on my dream of becoming a true adventurer.