Saturday 4th August – Arrived in Mongolia
We arrived in Mongolia on Saturday 4th. As we left the airport in a taxi doing well over the speed limit, narrowly missed being hit by a truck, and found out (the hard way) that indicating is optional, it dawned on us that the race might well be the least dangerous part of the whole trip.
Ulaanbaatar is an interesting city. OH&S seems non-existent - the building sites for 10 storey buildings have no scaffolding and bizarrely, the city's power station is located right in the centre of town (I suppose "interesting" was a stretch).
We checked in to our hotel and found Rob lying on the floor of the hotel room, trying to ease the pain from his ceased back from his flight. Jack too is having back problems. 2 down and we havent even seen a horse yet. Not the best start.
We headed to the black market to look for a pair of hide hobbles to use in the race, unsure exactly why we need them but convinced they will help our cause all the same. After spending 20 minutes looking through old suitcase wheels and a variety of 2nd hand parts from a variety of sources, with not a hobble in sight, we discover we are not even in the market. Nonetheless Jack and Henry have already bought a pair of Nike sunglasses (do they even make them?) with a backward swoosh. We find the real black market and after making our way through the seemingly endless rows of things you buy while on holiday only to get home and realise you have no use for, we stumble across a pair of rope hobbles that we purchase. By the end of the illegal cab ride home the hobbles have fallen apart but the walk has done rob and jack some good and are starting to loosen up so a bit of a silver lining.
We met a couple of the other competitors for dinner before the start of the first of official activities in the morning. The boys ate and drank while Ed went for a run and a sauna session. It was great to finally be in Mongolia and most of all, exciting to see Rob.