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Mongol Rally, Day 29: Freed, then lost again

August 12, 2012|By Leon Legothetis
  • After a miserable stay, Mongol Rally participants were allowed to pass through a border checkpoint.
After a miserable stay, Mongol Rally participants were allowed to pass… (Leon Legothetis )

“Every path hath a puddle.” 

--George Herbert

Ice-cold temperatures. Frequent visits to the dreaded "pit" that masquerades as a toilet and nightmares about still being in the Mongolian border holding pen kept me awake all night. By morning I had been sitting at the border for 36 hours. 

The border guards were now telling us that, unless money came in to pay for the import tax of the cars, we would have to wait another 48 hours due to the upcoming weekend. This was turning into a Mongol nightmare.

The head honchos at Mongol Rally headquarters assured us that the money had been sent. The head honchos at the Mongolian border assured us that the money had not been sent. There seemed to be some epic miscommunication.

A few of us decided to take things into our own hands and with some "Monglish" communication skills and expert assistance from the Adventurists team in Mongolia, the problem was finally resolved. All nine teams that had been waiting overnight were free to go. Jubilation ensued. No more pit. No more ice-cold nights in the pen. No more Mongolian border.

We were all free.

The good times didn’t last. My driving partner Steve and I ended up driving up a road that led nowhere. It literally ended at the side of a mountain. So did our sense of jubilation. We had finally entered Mongolia and Mongolia had already sucker-punched us with a left hook …

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