Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ulan-Ude by night

First thing first, we phone Philip and find out where our package is. It's been 5 days (he sent it out on Monday) so we're looking forward to getting a tracking number. The one Philip gives us is unknown on TNT's website, so we call again. And then he explains us that it's a bit complicated because it went through the Swiss post to TNT and then.. to the Russian post! We’re a bit depressed to hear this as we translate that to "Lost in a black hole". We could well spend another couple months here waiting for this package that may never even make it to Ulan-Ude! Of course we're very much disappointed, because he could have sent it safely using FedEx or DHL, etc.. even if we have to go get it in Irkutsk (can do a round trip by train in 24h, no big deal) and cost us 100$ more (guess the hotel cost us more than that).

So we decide to consider this package lost and we'll ask Philip to send a new part to Ulaanbaatar where we bring the dead bike somehow, it's only 500 km. We could find a truck going there, or we could try the new spool that was wounded by the guy at the store; it could make it to Mongolia, and we could swap it with the new one when we receive it. And we would get our ass out of this shit hole!

We walk into a travel agency to try and find somebody who speaks (even broken) English and could explain to the guys at the store what we're up to and help us find a truck driver for the bike. Luckily we meet Zena, a girl who was in high-school in Philadelphia so she speaks English fluently. She's very friendly and explains us plainly that she's been here for 1 year and there is just nothing to do here.. I was thinking of renting an Ural (Russian side-car) for the week-end, but no way. You can't even rent a car! She suggests to go to a night club as it's Saturday. So there is one? Sure, it's called "Fabrica". So we go there, pay the 250r cover (10$) and walk into it. It's pretty expensive, and doesn't include a drink; but then the vodka is only 40r (1.5$) so getting drunk is never much of a concern in Russia.


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