Day 183: We Don't Know Where to Start

Here are the facts we know about Ulan Bataar so far (4 hours post-arrival):

1. It is expensive
2. ATM's do not work with Lara's card (we realize this is the same complaint we had 24 hours ago and that we should have learned. We did not.)
3. The "Russ" we are randomly meeting up with in UB (thanks for setting it up, Step-on-me) is actually someone we KNOW. This is exciting for us.
4. Chez Bernard is overpriced, but a lovely dose o' Europe.
5. Avoid Mongolian fast food. Really.
6. One random blog reader, SarahMac stuck at home reading our blog because she has a broken leg and can't find anythign better to do, has set us up for drinks with her boyfriend, Jacob. JACOB...we just emailed you. if you are reading this. see below for a copy of said email. Hi Sarah!!!
7. Cab drivers are NOT NICE.
8. Baggage carry men are even LESS NICE. They are, in fact, MEAN and OVERLY AGGRESSIVE.

To explain: We spent three hours this morning traveling 4 blocks (.25 km for you worldly types) to our hostel. We ended up "discussing fair pricing" with 10 baggage men at the train station when we would not pay 10 USD to have our bags carried about 60 meters against our will. We stood firm, however, so the baggage man decided to get in our cab with us. The two of them (Cab driver and baggage man) then got lost during teh said 4-block drive, and decided to spend half an hour hanging out with their friends "asking for directions."

They then extorted us for fifteen USD all together, and were mean to our nice hostel lady who stood up for us, and talked them down from 50 USD. Quite reasonable, really.

Now we are off to find money and to figure out tickets on to Irkutsk, Russia for tomorrow. We are mad at ourselves for not scheduling enough time, as lack of sleep on crowded train + overwhelming new country seems a bit much for two days in Ulan Bataar.

So we're off to go scrounge up some fresh produce and some currency. Exciting travel!!!

***JACOB READ ME: Hi Jacob!

We have a bit of a complication regarding our time in UB ((only 30 hours it looks like) -

Are you available for dinner/drink tonight (Tuesday) at a strange Mexican place called Banditos? It's supposedly right next to (across from) the State Department Store on Peace Avenue (like two blocks down from Chez Bernard)...We;ll be there starting at 6.45 pm. Otherwise, at 9 pm we are going to the Gran Khan Irish Pub off of Seoul St. to meet this guy we vaguely knew in college. So if that works it'd be great as well! We'll try to check email later, and will also try calling your hotel.

Best, Claire and Lara

P.S.: Joe says Mai is in Mongolia? If you know what Claire is talking about, please help her get in touch with dear dear Mai!


sarah mac said...

jake called and said he couldn't find you guys at the irish pub place last night! he said he saw two groups of westerners and went up to both but did not find you. he's staying at the bayangol hotel.

SavvySunshine said...

I love that y'all also talk about the frustrating aspects of traveling. Keepin' it real, yo!

Claire and Lara said...

Sarah and Jake:
Let's try again tonight, as we're stuck here...that *sucks* we couldn't find eachother last night. We kept going up to random people and going..."Jacob...? Jacob...?" and then they would look at us awkwardly and speak back in Russian. We'll send an email, but roughly try Bandidos for dinner (it has moved and is on United Nations street, so we didn't find it last night) and then maybe the Irish place again with Russ?? (Russ, are you free again tonight?)

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