I am going to keep this nice and short. Well I am in china now thanks to a little help from a Chinese guy called Batu. When leaving Olgi I headed to the bus station only to find the mini van going to China was not going to leave for another 5 days as the driver had changed his mind on when he wanted to leave. This would of meant I was going to overstay my visa and I really did not fancy paying a fine at the border. Luckily Batu was also in desperate need to to get into China before his visa also expired.
We managed to find two shared vans that were taking a group of Mongolian government prosecutors to Bulgan near to the border and managed to jump in with them. By the time we actually left for the border it was already dark and on leaving Olgi we pull alongside a waiting jeep at the roadside that had more prosecutors inside who were armed to the teeth with vodka and scotch! They were a friendly bunch who were all going to Bulgan to do some sort of exam the booze started to flow and they all sang Mongolian folk songs that sound epic. We were stood in the cold at the roadside for hours drinking the booze getting to know each over and raising toasts to one another. Eventually I was asked if I could sing a song from England. Now there songs were about Mongolian history, nature their animals and great battles that had been fought. Being put on the spot a bit and feeling a little pissed I couldn’t think what to sing, the first thing that popped into my head that I vaguely new the words to was Queens Bohemian Rhapsody. So at the side of a road in the middle of the night surrounded by a mass of drunk Mongolian prosecutors and my new Chinese friend Batu I stand in the headlamps of the jeep and belt out Bohemian Rhapsody! I forgot big chunks of it but I just made the up I really don’t think they noticed. They all really liked it when I broke into the bit that goes Scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the fandango! When I eventually finished my cover version of it I got a massive round of applause and a huge bowl of vodka was shoved into my hand and we had another toast! I wonder if they think thats one of the great traditional songs of the UK.
We climbed high up into the mountains where the horses slowed down the pace as they were having to traverse some seriously rocky terrain and the riding became more enjoyable. My horse still needed constant encouragement to make it move anywhere and I had concluded that we were unlikely to catch anything with my constant ‘cho’ing’ but that didn’t really bother me as the horse riding in the mountains was incredible and the scenery was breathtaking. Algalai would take us up to the top of a ridge over looking the valley’s bellow and remove the hood from the eagle’s head, he would then start shouting and banging his horse whip against his foot to scare any animals out into the open where the eagle would spot the prey and go get it. We tried this countless times but failed to spot anything. We did however spot some very ancient pictures of animals carved into a rock at the top of mountain that sort of looked like the aborigine cave paintings you see in Australia.
When we arrived at Bulgan Batu takes me to meet a friend of his who was a construction business owner who fed us with a mass of meat and beer and drove us around town to sort out our ride across the border into China. Batu and his friend can be seen in the photo’s Batu is the skinny one in the blue jacket and his friend is the big guy. The next morning we make our way to the border where the Chinese border police take a big interest in me and keep me to one side while they process all the Mongolian and Chinese people first. I must of been asked if my visa was real about 20 times. They were however very pleasant and just generally inquisitive the main guy spoke good english and was asking me all sorts of questions about where I have been and where I am going and generally having a chat. It became so informal that I had to remind him to check my luggage. By the time I had finished chatting with the Chinese immigration officers an hour had easily passed and Batu was nowhere to be seen on the Chinese side. He probably thought I had been detained or something due to the time I had been in the baggage inspection which was a shame as I never got the chance to thank him for all his help.