Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Entry 7: Ulanbaatar, Mongolia - Visas, TV Coverage, 2010, June 10

(From left to right: Uka, our friend - who also happens to be a lawyer and made this tv interview possible; Neale, the type-A Aussie; Janusz, the polish; Naara, the morning news broadcaster)

The immigration office, our second UB haunt, was where we had to apply for our visa extensions. Sony and I (US citizens), get an automatic 90 days with no visa required, Neale, (Aussie), 60 days, but he worked for a year before coming to Mongolia to try for 120 but only got 90, and poor Janush (Poland), only a 30 day visa. Neale makes Type A people seemed relaxed. Just watching him go about everyday business is entertaining. He runs around frantic everywhere, even when there is no place to go. He doesn’t seem to sleep or eat, in fact, we still don’t have visas, and he has left to the East of Mongolia without us. Neale feels the need to cross the entire country border to border (the reason why we need more than 90 days), as a climber needs to reach the summit I am not interested in goal oriented travel and would be happy enough to ride in circles if need be, as long as I was seeing the most interesting places possible in the allotted time.

Neale carries a special GPS device that automatically updates his position to his website, we can then put his coordinates into our gps unit and hopefully find him out on the steppe this week, with visa extensions in hand.

The visa extension process involved getting denied twice, hiring a lawyer, doing an interview with a Mongolian tv station, talking about how great our trip is for Mongolian tourism,

meeting with the head of immigration, AIDS test (negative if any one is interested, wink) and countless forms, all to be filled out in Mongolian.

(Neale, with doctor, discussing his HIV results. We all tested negative.)

During our down time, when we were not waiting at the immigration office or shopping at the black market, we did some sightseeing around Ulanbaatar:

(monument dedicated to the Soviets)

(breast feeding at the Soviet meeting)

(what remains of Buddhist monasteries, after the Russian purge of over 90% of all monasteries in Mongolia)

(Leo meets Reindeer)

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