“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”
We had everything meticulously planned. Wake up at 5 a.m. Drive 400 miles. Arrive in Mongolia. Unfortunately our meticulous planning failed us miserably. As I write, I am sitting in the car looking at the Mongolian border. We have indeed arrived. But the border is closed. The bloody border is closed! This means that we are looking at Mongolia from Russia. I don’t want to be in Russia. I want to be in Mongolia.
It also means that I will be looking at the border for the next 15 hours. From Russia. Border watching is not a fun pastime. In fact it is not a pastime at all. Our new plan is as follows. We will be setting up camp 50 feet from this border. We will not be moved by anyone. This includes Russian soldiers with Kalashnikovs or Russian soldiers with tanks. We are staying right here. Tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. sharp we will cross into Mongolia. We have waited more than a year for this moment and nothing is going to take it away from us. Nothing.
My friend Steve will cook us some food. Because Steve knows how to cook. Barely. We will eat that food and then we will stare at the border. We will continue to stare at the border until it opens. When that border opens, we will have achieved what some said was impossible and most, foolhardy. We will have arrived in Mongolia, just over a year after our misadventure with a Romanian car. We will then be less than 1,000 miles from Ulaanbaatar, the holy grail.