Welcome to Mongolia! After a broken night with a little sleep (just like yesterday, when sleep finally kicks in you need to wake up again) the light switch on and a speaker voice tells us were about to descend. I look outside the window and it’s super dark outside! The only thing I see is an endless stretch of mountains with snow on top. Wow! This is amazing.
For a short moment I regret of not taking the Trans-Siberian express but just moments later I’m sure enough I will get my share. This is why I started this journey! It’s going to be amazing!
Arrived at 05:46 am in Mongolia. Currently waiting at my transfer drive to the hostel. Jagi was supposed to meet me at 06:00, but due to heavy snowfall it takes a lot longer! It’s 07:18 now and still waiting. The Mongolians I’ve seen so far look very friendly. Taxi drivers are not pushy and even offering me to call my pick- up. (he is still on his way!)
In the mean time I got access to free Wifi and called my mom to tell her everything is fine! By the way, it’s funny how I traveled into the future, with 6 hours difference I’m almost a whole working day ahead.
It’s quite chilly, about -6 degrees. I’m in a somewhat warm arrival hall, but more and more people walking in and out are making it less comfortable in time.
Since it’s going to take another 30-50 mins before Jagi arrived, this is a great time to write about my Moscow adventures.
Okay, back to Mongolia! Since it was -6 degrees on arrival, Jagi was so kind to let me check in immediately. (Thank you!) Other than two guys who were out there was nobody in the hostel. This gave me the space to reorganize and wash some laundry. I tried to get to sleep a bit, but for some reason, again, failed to get a proper sleep. Even though I am quite tired.
Around 14:00 am I’m heading off to the center. This is an adventure on itself. Where in Russia I had both an English and a Cryllic map, in Mongolia I have no public transport map and everything is in Cryllic. Tough call! Luckily I have a small city map. After a few minutes of looking quite puzzled two woman walk towards me and offer me their help! The younger woman speaks English and translates to the older woman. I told them I’m trying to get to the city center and the older woman is willing to guide me there. That’s great!
Getting on the bus itself is an adventure. The bus is already overfilled when it stops at the bus stop. Yet, everybody is determined to get in there. This results in a lot of pushing and pulling. Just before everybody got their selves in the bus, the bus started driving. Luckily the older lady and I got on the bus. We are completely squished to each other and other passengers. Because the bus is not driving to smoothly, we are constantly pressed back and forth, making the experience quite intense.
After a while the lady gets me ready to get out of the bus. The doors open, I get myself out of there and turn around. The lady points at a square behind her and stays in the bus. A little confused about what’s happening I wave her goodbye. This was a special drop off. But I’ve made it to the city center.
Compared to Moscow the buildings have way less color. Being mostly grey. It’s also cold and all tour operators in the center are closed (it’s Sunday) for a short moment I’m asking myself what I’m doing?!
Where is the fun in this?! Then I walk into an art center. Nice paintings and Mongolian themed art is on the walls. One room further there’s a Children’s art class going on and I am free to walk around. I am surprised by the skills of the young children. One of them who’s a bit older (15) starts taking to me in perfectly English. He talks to me about his goal to get a scholarship for his English study and his project of designing an Mongolian outfit for a fashion show. He’s really serious and ambitious for such a young age!
After the art center I was positive again. This meeting was awesome. I got to learn a bit about the Mongolian culture and this is one of the reasons why I got here in the first place. I walked around a bit more and saw the theater and the government building.
I had a surprise hotdog (there was a hotdog hidden in some kind of pastry and drank a cup of tea)
Because it was getting dark I headed off to the hostel again. Again, two ladies guided me to the bus and a lady in the bus helped me getting out at the right stop. This went very smooth and I was quite happy about this.
In the hostel I met Daniel and Sid from Austria and India. They are planning a great 8 day trip through Mongolia and they asked me to join them! Of course :)! We will leave tomorrow morning on a super nice road trip. Adventure!