Hello everybody...sorry about the group email but i am a bit heat weary after 325 kilometer of cycling through the mongolian steppes which are drier than the ***Flinders Ranges. As most of you know i had everything stolen including my passport which effectively made me feel stateless, stranded and very miserable. The British embassy has helped me with a temporary British travel paper so i will be an honourary "Brit" for the duration of my flight home: isnt that great, dont you think the queen would love that Robin? the Australian consulate in Beijing were initially hopeless (due to international phone menu complications in Mandarin) but with pressure from me got their act together.The people here are wonderful and several nomads have fed us with yoghurt, fresh milk and horrible cheese that can break teeth!! They are mesmerised by our pedal clips and find them similar to horse stirrups.Everyone wants to ride Mike's bike and in return they have offered horse rides which i have declined as i am wary of anything bigger than me.We are now in Bulgan and will head toward lake Khovsgol to visit the land of the reindeer people, we are currently only 200km from Russia. The first day on the road we hit a hailstorm which dropped the temperature by 20 degrees in 20 minutes, then the bike broke and we had to go back to the capital for repairs....cross your fingers that nothing else goes wrong. I am very positive and cant wait for the alpine coolness.
ps: because of Korean money laundering you can actually get a "bi bim bap" in Ulaanbaatar for $1.50 per serve. I may not reply for a week nor phone (thats impossible!) because facilities ahead on the road are unpredictable.
***THE FLINDER'S RANGES ARE AN ARID RANGE OF MOUNTAINS IN NORTHERN SOUTH AUSTRALIA AND ARE A WONDERFUL PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE, PARTICULARLY THE "GAMMON RANGES" WHICH SUDDENLY CEASE AND YOU CAN LOOK NORTHWARD TO AN ENDLESS FLAT DESERT, IN AN AREA APPROPRIATELY CALLED MOUNT HOPELESS.THE BIGGEST DANGER HERE IS EXTREMELY HOT SUMMERS UP TO 47 DEGREES OR UNPREDICTABLE RAIN WHICH TURNS THE CLAY ROADS INTO GLUE.