Journey from London to Ulaanbaatar!
on Alienor in the Land of Blue Skies (Mongolia), 31/Aug/2010 07:24, 34 days ago
After days of packing, moving out, unpacking and repacking, I finally had to decide on what to bring with me to Mongolia for a year... With only 30kg luggage allowance - already up from 20kg due to the fact that the trip is for charitable purposes - more and more items eventually had to be vetoed, and I limited myself to survival winter layers and some smart work clothes...At the airport panic struck as my case wouldn't close, and after half and hour of sitting and rolling around on it, it turned out that it weighed 37kg and they wouldn't accept it... So after one hours rushing around and using my negotiation skills with one very kind man at check-in, I managed to get away with 40kg no extra charge. Perfect.Of course that wasn't the end - after this frantic episode I realised (once past security of course) that I had left all my layers to wear on the plane with my mother, and all I was wearing was a thin strapped jumpsuit and some flip flops - just great for a country where a snowstorm can erupt in the middle of summer...Luckily Tie Rack sorted me out with an ironically cheap cashmere jumper and pashmina from the sale, I found Becky and Jo, the two other VSO volunteers in the bar and we were off to begin our adventure.Korean Air are actually amazing, and I was more than impressed with the excellent service and to top it off, I managed to get lounge access for all three of us in Seoul for our 5 hours stopover.After a total of 24 hours travel, two magnificent bleeding sunsets and sunrise, we were finally arrived at Ulaanbaatar and warmly welcomed by VSO staff and volunteers. The first impressions were the intoxicating smell of coal, and driving past a ger (yurt) where a guy was watching tv on a very sophisticated plasma screen...With 9 of us crammed into a micro bus, we were on our way to the guest house where some of the others had already arrived from various places: UK, Netherlands, Phillipines, US, Canada and Australia.Here is a photo of the room where I am staying in the guesthouse as well as the view from our balcony, note the little gers all neatly lined up behind the petrol station: