Customs – Hurdle Number Two

We are hoping to leave the city on Friday 28th June.  We plan to spend a few days with Densmaa and Badrakh deciding on horses.  We met with Densmaa on Monday to discuss the next step and to negotiate the cost of four horses.

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Our kit is in the country – yipee.  Our kit is stuck at customs – Oh no.

I think we all know what’s coming next.  We have had to supply some paperwork; Tim’s passport, a passport copy and an inventory (even though there’s one on the outside of each box, inside of each box & with the courier) and of course it would not be right if we did not have to withdraw lots of money from the ATM.  So far the ‘customs tax’ is around 800,000 tugrik.  When I called the company Wednesday morning it was 630,000 but by the time we walked to DHL in the centre, three hours later, inflation had increased.  We have to visit the out of town DHL office to fill out some forms.  The good part is this is where we predicted the first hurdle to be.  We’ve worked hard to get here, to spend all this money and supply this stack of paperwork.

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The Spanish have mañana, the Mongolian’s маргааш (pronounced Margaash).  It means tomorrow and rather than signify laziness it really signifies that Mongolians like to take things slowly.  Another word we find oursleves using a lot is байх (pronounced bekh).  As with most Mongolian words it has a large number of meanings but one can add it to the end of a sentence to signify uncertainty.  We find ourselves doping this a great deal when Mongolians ask about our trip.

The city is warm, with a cooling breeze most days and we have had a couple of storms that brought needed rain.  There is a lot of pollen in the air that comes off trees.  The pollen gets everywhere – it looks similar to dandelion fluff.  We have been told by Mongolians that the city were meant to plant the trees in rows of one male, one female but planted rows of male trees instead.

While we wait for our kit we have been studying maps of the seven aimags we plan to ride through.  What has been of interest to us is the discovery of springs and wells in the areas without obvious water supplies.  The wells can be dry so one cannot be assured of finding water when one gets there.

The Long Rider’s Guild have put us in touch with Colonel John Blashford-Snell who is coming to Mongolia next month.  We hope to meet with him but our itineraries may not allow us.

http://www.johnblashfordsnell.org.uk/

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