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Report - Mongolia Day 2/4, hunting for soviet military bases (lots of words)

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by dsankt, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. dsankt

    dsankt si ce que tu dis est vrai
    Regular User

    Aug 13, 2006
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    Disclaimer: This is not urban and contains more than we-did-then-we-did-then-we-did... If the quantity of words causes distress let the pretty pictures soothe your troubles.

    We awoke early, gulped down cold leftover pasta and rolled out. In perfect sunny weather we covered 15km towards Base 3 down a tidy dirt road which paralleled the train lines. With little effort it seems one could hop freights across this country. Admittedly things would become hairy at the Chinese or Russian borders but we saw enough freighters stopped at trains stations to think one could alight well before then (presuming of course you had a clue where you were relative to said borders...)


    The landscape is so vast and empty that we spotted Base 3 from ~5km away, a large dark mass of hazy shapes amongst the green rolling scenery. Up against the barbed wire fence skirting the base's perimeter we could see our findings were on the up. Base 3 was an airbase and it was partially intact. Clusters of small aircraft hangers were dotted around the runway. I suspect they've long surpassed their usefulness to the military world, unless the Mongolian airforce has bred an aerial cavalry of goats and horses. The hangers, now stables and barns for the local herders, all stank of shit and rotting hay.

    pic: quantum-x

    We napped in the sun outside a hanger on a belly full of noodles, hoiwin and dehydrated Russian beef. This really is the life. Neither qx or I smoke but a lesson quickly learned in Mongolia was one can befriend just about anyone with cigarettes. At less than 1 Euro per pack, it's cheap and effective buying a little bargaining power with the nomads. Accosted by a rough looking guy on his motorbike outside the hangers we softened his mood with a cigarette and intrigued him with our guide book. We got the impression he 'owned' this section and we were infringing on his territory. A rightful land owner or a squatter he had more claim than us so we gave up arguing and offering cigarettes and went on our way.



    We rode down the giant runway under and broad massive sky towards a group of buildings which appeared to include the control tower. The runway seemed in decent condition, we suspect these runways are maintained sufficiently to serve as emergency landing strips. Any pilots out there feel free to chime in. At the control tower a group of men, as rough as the scrappers in Kiev, were building the foundations of a wall. Once again cigarettes bought friendship, lots of pointing at a map of Australia bought intrigue and they let us poke around the few remaining buildings. Once again all the easily accessible valuables were scavenged, leaving mere shells of brick and concrete.



    That afternoon we put in a lazy 40km passing a couple of little towns/villages where we:
    • gave the local kids candy then impressed 'em with our 'deluxe' bikes
    • found a store selling mars bars and fanta, inducted as primary energy source
    • raced local kids on their shitter bmx bikes (we won)
    • were dubbed 'badboys' by 4 kids on motorbikes because I did bunnyhops.
    • ...they then crashed their motorbike with qx aboard


    Shortly before camping down the night we found a small food shack selling homemade dumplings and noodles. The dumping were simple: mutton and onion, the noodles thick and irregular. The food was plain looking as it was deliciously homemade but after a day in the saddle it filled the stomach just right.

    pic: quantum-x

    As the sun set we pitched up over a small rise west of the road, overlooking the train tracks and cooked up our couscous. The TransMongolian rolled past and we considered how much more rewarding our journey had become since we ditched the train and got our own wheels. I wondered if anyone was camped out the week prior watching us as we passed quickly in the night aboard the train?


    Our final destination, a town called Choir / Choya wasn't that far away. Over the next couple of days we'd easily make the distance. Earlier that day, while at the food shack, we declined the offer of a ride to Choir aboard a bus. At the time this was definitely the right choice. Come morning though, we felt very differently.

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