On Monday afternoon our kit arrived at our apartment via DHL.
In Mongolia DHL have a Customs Liaison Office that sit together with Mongolian Customs. This ensures packages get through with the minimum amount of fuss. We were advised to declare only our saddles as the custom’s tax would be very high if we declared everything – around 1, 000, 000 tugruk.
A DHL representative spent a few hours running between four counters getting us to fill in various forms before we were presented with a pink post-it note with four numbers on it.
The first number was the tax we had to pay. We asked about the other three and were told with a shrug “You just have to pay these.” They were small amounts, around 4000 tugruk, so we did not see the point in arguing.
We were directed out of the Customs/DHL office to the Miat building a few hundred metres away and told to go the Golomt Bank on the first floor. At the bank we paid our fees, received four receipts and walked back to the Customs/DHL office.
A few more visits to three more counters and the DHL representative had smoothed the way for our boxes to be released. Result!
The previous day we had visited the Black Market, also known Naran Tuul to buy our bridles (xазаар), bits (aмгайвч ) reins (жолоо), stirrup irons (дөрөө) and some extra hobbles (чөдөр). We were really pleased to see that some of the selection of bits were made with copper and this is what we went with. Tim also brought a pair of Mongolian riding boots.
The bridles are made of rawhide and soaked in тараг (pronounced “tarag”, meaning yogurt). Why? We don’t know. One issue with rawhide is that it can crack and break when it gets wet so we may have to switch to homemade rope bridles during our ride.