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Two Years & Twice Around the World...  

Mongolia Flag ULAAN BATAAR


July 22-24. BACK IN UB  Our first order of business was to get our Russian visas.  Since we had lost confidence in Buryat Tours we went back to Legend.  A young stone faced Russian woman helped us.  It was going to be expensive but if we were going to go Russia we didn't really have a choice.  In addition to the "invitation" and over-priced visa processing, we had to book four nights at over-priced hotels and our exit ticket to Estonia.  It would take a week to process and we would get our passports, visas, tickets, and hotel vouchers at 11:00 am July 31st when our train was due to leave at about 1:50.  That left us no time to deregister with the Mongolian government so we had to do that before submitting our passports.  

We dropped by Bernard's to see Daka and tell her we were sorry that we had to cut our trip short.  We wanted to make sure that she knew Amara had done a good job.  It was really weather and agreeing to a Lonely Planet dictated itinerary that made it go so badly.  While we were away the rain had hit UB so hard that streets were flooded and seven people died.  It was an abnormally bad year for rain and after Naadam must be the worst time in terms of tourist volume.

That afternoon we went to Millie's for an information session about volunteer work at Baldan Baraivan monastery in the Khenti region (east of UB, opposite of where we had just gone).  I was interested in participating in the program which was more of a volunteer tourism project than strictly volunteer work.  The money paid went to financially support the reconstruction and to your food and lodging while you went to join in the restoration work.  The labor was hired from the local community so the volunteering was more of a way to get people actively involved in the work they were supporting financially. It was a particularly good time to go because the following week was a Buddhist Festival and local Naadam in addition to the normal restoration work.  The group left on the coming Thursday or Friday so I decided to give it some consideration.  It sounded like a worthwhile investment but not entirely an inexpensive one. 

On Wednesday morning we easily de-registered our passports and after explaining our Russian visa application process the administrator gave us until August 10th to leave Mongolia, just in case we didn't get our visas.

Rob wasn't interested the restoration project as much as I was and wanted to stay in UB to catch up on his own things and keep an eye on our visa application process.  I decided to give volunteer tourism a try but opted to go on Friday instead of Thursday.  It gave me more time to recoup after our countryside adventure and to get myself prepared to leave for Russia.  I would only get back one day before we were supposed to leave.  To confirm my place I had to call from a street-side phone person.  Zaya's phone didn't let us call mobile phones.  The phone people in Mongolia are their equivalent to a phone booth.  These people stroll the streets with wireless phones and you can have them place a call then just pay them directly.  I was feeling sorry for these people because it seemed like such a boring job but I was less sympathetic after the first one charged me double for my call.  


ULAAN BAATAR July 2-3 July 4-5 July 6 July 7-8

NAADAM July 9-10 July 11 July 12 July 13

COUNTRYSIDE July 14 July 15 July 16 July 17 July 18 July 19 July 20-21


BALDAN BARAIVAN July 25-30 Intro About Baldan Baraivan Mani Buteel Buddhist Festival The Restoration Work Another Naadam & About CRTP

ULAAN BAATAR July 31-Aug 1