So came the end of our Mongolia trip. 2 weeks, mostly spent out in the country side…which really is most of the country. Pretty much UB is the only city in the country with the rest being mostly the odd Ger dotted around and a few towns. The food wasn’t as bad as I thought as I was able to eat happily every day by picking out the bits of floating mutton. However I was keen for a bit of spice and flavour which I was expecting from China.
Once we arrived back to our guest house I was just way too tired to cope with doing anything. After showering and washing some clothes (so dirty….) I watched BBC and we ordered pizza to be delivered. So lazy! Turns out I should have gone to change money as I am now stuck with about $15 of useless tugregs (Mongolian currency) which I can’t change in China. I am really keen to come back to Mongolia to see more of the country and try to do something where you spend a bit more time with local people as most places we stayed we didn’t have that much contact with the families. Although from speaking to a few people who did family stays it sounds a bit intense, as in slaughtering the animals and preparing it…might have to train myself to like mutton before then.
I think in the summer it would be good to come back and take a tent and go camping and hitchhiking around as there is not really anything as private land so camping is the best way to do it. Paulin the french guy we had meet in Russia was pretty much doing this, although he is much more hardcore than I could ever be. Him and another guy were trekking and hitchhiking through the snow and finding Ger’s along the way which would take them in. Randomly we came across them in one of these towns along the way were they were waiting for a lift. Very funny to see someone you actually know in the middle of Mongolia!
Our train for China was leaving the morning after we arrived at 8am. So we just got ourselves together and went to bed, thankfully picking up our passports compleate with Chinese visa’s. The train in the morning was another forcibly expensive train in 2nd class. A big train this time, lots of foreigners but all spread out and we were the only foreigners in our carriage. The train ride took us back south through the Gobi then a long drawn out border crossing where they had to change all the wheels (or whatever trains have) as Russian/Mongolian trains have a different gauge than China so every carriage has to be lifted up and changed. It was around 5 hours in the middle of the night at the border before heading off into China, we arrived in Beijing at 2pm the following day and in the morning had great views of the Great Wall as we followed it along for a bit then through some amazing mountains. Beijing started far before we arrived into the station and high rise apartment buildings and highways lined the tracks. Finally pulling into the station we stepped out into the amazingly warmer Beijing air and went head first into the mass of people that is China.