18-Sep-2004 -- Having missed our flight back to Ulaanbaatar, see 47N 117E, Choi (Choijilsuren Damiran) and I decided to take a taxi home rather than wait 3 days for the next flight. Most Mongolians travel by minibus – these are usually heavily overloaded and travel non-stop for up to 2 days. We managed to secure places in a jeep belonging to the Wildlife Conservation Society (I wonder if they know that their jeep is used as a taxi!) and left at 8.00am on Saturday morning.
According to our map a confluence point lay almost on our route – but possibly on the wrong side of the Kherlen River. We were considering whether we would paddle/wade across the river to get to the point. With only two other passengers in the jeep (one turned out to be the driver’s wife) we persuaded the driver to detour to the CP. It turned out to be more than a kilometre from the river and just 200 metres from the main road – Grass steppe again! A “bonus point” we were not expecting on this trip and made up for the discomfort of the long extra drive.
On the way to the CP we stopped to look at Kherlen Bars City was built by the Chinese in the 11th century. It was a substantial walled city but all that remains is this tower. A picture inside shows how it might have looked.
After stopping at the CP we continued our journey stopping only for meals and minor car repairs. Roadside services comprise – café gers, small shops, outside pool and, across the road, a line of “long drops” (outside toilets).
The drive back to Ulaanbaatar took 22 hours – it could have been substantially quicker but the driver was rather slow towards the end was getting even slower due to tiredness. We were lucky to see 3 wolves during the night – they were near to a group of horses – maybe we disturbed their evening meal. We eventually arrived home at 6.00am the next morning.