02 July 2006

MONGOLIA day-11 Khatgal (rest day)

Immanuel the French mountain biker has taken three weeks to arrive here from Ulaanbator on his heavy steel frame bike loaded with a massive tent. Dressed in close fitting cycle attire and a “Camel Back”, he had to be commended for his raw enthusiasm. His nature was one of an inquisitive traveller and had an earthiness in contrast to the other verbose Frenchman. Yesterday, when the Siberian northerly fetched across the Khovsgol Nuur, the drop in temperature had been sudden and it’s now wonderfully cool. Thunder in the distance, the type that makes you big-chain-wheel to the next settlement; is echoing loudly across the lake. The only doubt that I have for our forward journey is the need for a border visa, as we are only 130 kilometres from the Russian border. As I have no passport, obtaining one may be difficult. Khatgal is spread out and mostly caters for Mongolian holiday makers with catamarans for rent and boat rides to the northern part of the lake. There are few Europeans about and the restaurants are empty. It is a pleasant stop after days of cycling, my leads are leaden and I am in a state of somnolescence.

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