We were all up early to get to the China/Mongolian border. We spent about 2/3 hours getting through the borders. Zamyn is the first settlement in Mongolia over the border and it is the hottest and driest town in mongolia. Desertification is a real problem and you can see sand dunes forming between the buildings. Mostly vast plains with little on them apart from the odd group of camels or wild horses. Hardly anyone around. Mongoila has the fewset people/sq km than anywhere in the world. The path we drove for 213 kms was little more than a sand/dirt track which we had to navigate as best we could. Craig started driving at about 20km/hr but we thought we’d never get to the camp site at that rate, so you actually had to increase your speed and by the end we were averaging between 30-40 km/hr which was comfortable. Some cars were motoring! but many of those have now had major problems with broken leaf springs, wheels breaking, radiators punctured……..So far the Dodge has been fantastic and certainly the engine hasn’t missed a beat except in the traffic jams when the temp gets a bit high. However, the leaf springs have inverted in their arch and so at Ulaanbataar Craig is going to see about putting another one in just for safe measure. The people seem lovely and the kids are all over us practising their english which they learn at school. Camped the night at Sainshand. No sleep due to trains and snoring from every tent around us!! next time we will pitch our tent further away from evryone!
The countryside was changed significantly from the very busy populated areas with crops and animals to more open grass plains and you could see what I think of as more mongolian ger (yert)’s in places.
Hi All. Well where to start! We left Beijing very early on the Friday the 10th heading for the great Wall of China for our official start (about 70km away). Traffic dreadful and chaotic with the car and its driver heating up a little in the jams! The wall looked amazing and a fabulous place to begin this epic journey. Already there have been cars that haven’t arrived or that have been having problems – so fingers crossed.
From the wall we drove 399 kms to Daihai. Once off the highway we travelled through numerous little villages with the police keeping a weary eye on us the whole way!. The towns were jammed, smelly, dirty and had cars, bikes, trucks, dogs and people going any which way. Slightly terrifying! The people all were all very interested in us all, smiling and waving.
Our first day was spent doing the touristy thing, visiting the Forbidden city and wandering the back streets. Amazing archetecture and colour everywhere, not to mention people! Beijing is not quite what I expected, in the city centre areas it’s prestine (altho go a little further out and its not) and we have felt very at ease here. Not to hot at about 28-35 C and with this haze evrywhere which according to the locals is ‘fog’ !
Proposed schedule as at 8th October 2009