Skip to content

A Cold Welcome

by André on October 15th, 2011

If my journey was a book, I’m now at the beginning of a new chapter. I resumed my way back home and started the first part of the Trans-Mongolian Express to Mongolia. It didn’t take long to realise after entering Mongolia that I’ve entered a whole new country and that I left the classical ‘asia’ behind.

The first stop in Mongolia was Zamyn-Uud, a town where you do not want to go. The only reason for me to go there was because a direct ticket to Ulaan Bataar (Mongolia’s Capital) was about 160dollars more expensive than one with a stopover at the border.

Originally I planned to stop at the Chinese side of the border, but with a little bribe the trainconducter was willing to get me across the border. I was hoping that when I arrived there I could quickly get another ticket to Ulaan Bataar. Some Mongolians did the same thing and could continue on the train. Unfortunately the conductor wasn’t very willing to help me and kicked me out of the train. So there I was again in a new country, together with a eccentric Frenchguy I met on the train.

So the Frenchguy asked me: “You have you’re sleeping gear with you?”. He wanted to sleep on the street like he did for ten days in Beijing. But with the freezing cold, only a sweater to keep me warm, and a sleeping-bag in which I already froze in Australia, I’d rather wanted to spent the few dollars for a place to sleep. Luckily there was an hotel near. We were at the door in front of the reception but nobody was there to answer. After knocking for a little while and waking up some other people somebody came to the reception.

Then we saw that all the time that we were knocking there was a girl laying behind the counter, but she just didn’t want to help us. And even when the two people were at the reception they just said “No” and left us in the cold. Some f*cking hospitality…. But later a guest of the hotel came which she had to let in so we went in as well. She tried to shut the door before we could sneak in but we didn’t let that happen. So in the end we still had a place to stay but this was clearly not the Asian hospitality I got used to in the last four months.

Although China was only a couple of kilometers away, also other differences were noticeable. First of all, it’s cold. Almost freezing, but this is still warm for Mongolia where -30 is no exception. Also, the language is totally different. Throughout SE-Asia and China you could still feel there is a connection between the languages, but here it’s more like Russian. Thirdly, the cuisine doesn’t consist of mainly rice or noodles and is to be eaten again by cutlery! Which was quite a change after eating with chopsticks for the last four months.

The next day I went for the 18hour trainride to Ulaan Bataar. Everything went well and I’m trying to figure out now what the hell I am going to do here and how I am going to survive the Mongolian winter… to be continued.

From → Mongolia

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: XHTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS