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Kate and Tamsin Trip 2019

Post Cancer "Fuck it" World Trip ticking off major ticket items - Trans Mongolian Railway, Russia, Bhutan, Italy etc Moscow, Mongolia, Manchester and everywhere in between
Currently traveling
  • Day104

    Welcome to Colombo

    Yesterday in Sri Lanka ⋅ 🌧 28 °C

    Overwhelming- sums up our first day in Sri Lanka.
    We arrived and got through the airport with total ease.
    We then made the bus driver laugh as we 2 x refused to get in his shithole bus looking for the “better one”.... only to jump on the shit one 20 mins later after paying $6.... for both of us which was double the price as we had luggage.
    A 45 min bus trip and a 25 min walk in 29 deg heat delivered us to Shalimar Hotel.... much nicer than we thought!
    We then sussed our Maradana train station for our train to Galle tomorrow before getting a TukTuk to town.
    Straight for a coffee and a bite to eat as we were starving and then a wander around a little of Colombo saw us accosted by many “friendly” locals... all men with suggestions of where to visit and what to do and offering to come with us.... no thank you!!!!
    One put us In a TukTuk and we found ourselves on our way to the Gem Palace where there was a sale on Sri Lankan gems.... today only- WTF??!!
    By now we were pretty overwhelmed so we found refuge in a rooftop bar of a nearest hotel..... only to find there’s no alcohol to be served anywhere today as it’s a ‘Poya’ - full moon public holiday!!
    After a juice we got a tuk tuk back to the hotel preparing for our coastal trip tmrw to Galle.
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  • Day104

    Bangkok to Colombo

    Yesterday in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Another early start but the Lilac Relax residence was fab with its free airport pick up and drop off transfers.
    The bus even left a little early.
    Sri Lankan airlines in a bit like Air Niugini with everyone checking in with what looks like a new fridge or washing machine!!
    Massive queues at immigration held us up a bit but now having a quick coffee before boarding for the 3 hour flight to Sri Lanka.
    K has cracked out a clean T-shirt- big day!!
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  • Day103

    Beijing to Bangkok/ Tiananmen Sq- not!

    October 12 in China ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    Nostalgia Hotel provided a v restful sleep but sadly no breakfast- we are now on enforced fasting after too much tour food ( or rather due to lack of cash!)
    We decided to visit Tiananmen Square before heading off to the airport.
    However what we were not prepared for were literally thousands of Chinese people in tour groups queueing and pouring through the security checkpoints ( around all sides) required before we could even set foot within 50m of the square.
    We could then see lines of more people in their 1000’s within the square itself.
    Due to this we decided to call it quits for our collective sanity and instead went .... to Starbucks for a coffee and breakfast muffin!!
    We checked out and then got the subway (Line 2 and the Capital Airport Express) straight to the airport, hereby avoiding walking between more hacking, smoking hoardes of people.
    Now all checked in and waiting to board our Thai airways flight to Bangkok where we just overnight before flying to Sri Lanka tmrw am. Nice curries here we come!!!
    Photos to follow....
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  • Day102

    Beijing with no cash!

    October 11 in China ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    After a v lovely last train trip ( despite the 5 hour mongolian/ Chinese border crossing where we were off the train until 1am) we arrived in Beijing at 14.35pm. K was feeling a bit better so that was a bonus.
    At a balmy 19 degs it was a lovely temperature.
    We said a sad farewell to our Brisbane tour mates and hope we catch up in the future as we really did enjoy their company (We were endlessly thankful they weren’t like people we encountered from other tour groups- loud, rude and obnoxious).
    Arriving in beijing we had a little ramp off the train instead of 5 neck breaking steps and then an escalator- China put on a v easy welcome... and there it ended!!
    Planning to get cash from an ATM for a taxi we came unstuck as the only ATM at the train station wouldn’t work with overseas bank cards.
    We walked to find a nearby one as per google maps- impossible to access without going through a hospital so we decided to walk to the accommodation - 3kms.
    On the way we found a bank so withdrew enough cash for dinner, drinks and subway tickets to the airport tmrw.
    An hour later ( thanks to the luggage and booking.com having the wrong location of our accommodation) we finally turn up at the Nostalgia Hotel. Their card machine “ wasn’t working” and we needed to pay in cash.... 400 of our 500 yuan!
    No worries we would pay for dinner with the visa.... off we went to find something to eat as we were both starving due to no lunch. To cut a long story short we couldn’t find a restaurant that would accept the visa..... so we ended up in Starbucks with a coffee and a chocolate muffin as our meal!! It did have a rooftop terrace so it was nice!
    Tmrw we have the morning not to need money and then we r off to airport to fly Beijing to Bangkok.
    Photos to follow as I can’t get them to load.
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  • Day101

    Trans Mongolian UB to Beijing

    October 10 in Mongolia ⋅ ⛅ -4 °C

    Goodbye UB and goodbye Mongolia- u have been more than fab.
    Up early at 5.30am (well actually we had been up most of the night as K’s gut finally gave up playing nicely on day 100- poor thing)
    Got the transport to the station and then jumped on our 1st class carriage ( our treat due to the border crossing into China).
    What a difference the chinese trains are compared to the Russian ones.... we have our own toilet and shower!!! ( K got a new lease of life at the sight of our own clean toilet!).
    We are due to leave at 07.30am arriving in Beijing 14.35 pm tomorrow.
    Now to sit back as we go through the Gobi.... and a 4pm beer o’clock with the tour friends who are 4 carriages down.
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  • Day100

    Last day in UB- day 100!!

    October 9 in Mongolia ⋅ ⛅ 0 °C

    Our last day in Mongolia before getting the train to Beijing tmrw.
    Had our last hotel breakfast and then went to do a bit of shopping and planning for Sri Lanka.
    Picked up the laundry and walked for the last time to Sukhbaatar Square.
    We had our last dinner with our tour friends at Gandan Temple Reataurant (after all admitting none of us had lunch today as we r all fed up with eating!!)
    Came home at 9pm, packed, filled in our tour feedback form ( a little too honestly for K’s liking) and now off to bed before an early 05.30am start.
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  • Day99

    My fave photo fron Kate's camera

    October 8 in Mongolia ⋅ 🌙 0 °C
  • Day99

    Tumen Ekh Cultural Show

    October 8 in Mongolia ⋅ 🌙 1 °C

    Amazing!!!! So for our last night we were taken to a cultural show in UB and after the Kazakh one in Uglii our expectations were low.
    However the 1 hour show was mind blowing!!
    Sadly we didn’t pay the $10 pass to take photos or videos which was a shame because it was all mind blowing but I have included the links from you tube showing the same show.
    The throat singing was unbelievable- a rare cultural skill.

    https://youtu.be/OsnjoK2HFSQ

    https://youtu.be/F2rgH9oWb8E

    https://youtu.be/uGXsxE3K7jg
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  • Day99

    Bayan- Ulgii to UB- last day of tour!

    October 8 in Mongolia ⋅ 🌙 1 °C

    Up at 5.30am for a 6am pick up to the airport. We luckily had a jet so the 3 hour flight turned into 2 hours and with the hour time difference we landed in UB at 11.20am.
    Checked back into the Ramada for the last time and then off to lunch.
    K and I got put into a taxi which u get by just standing in the street and putting ur hand out and getting into any car that stops!! It doesn’t have to be a registered taxi.
    We went to the Institute of Mongolian archaeology as per previous post, and then made an elderly man v happy by getting in his car for a lift back to the Ramada. We showed him the wad of notes which was the correct amount so he nodded all was ok. 2 metres up the road he stopped the car in the middle if the road, rolled down his window and asked another driver for directions!!
    We got back fine and we were all v happy!
    A bat mobile was parked in the Ramada car park! ( mongolia gets more bizarre every day!!)
    We dropped off our laundry, sorted out Unru’s tip and then we had 11 mins before pick up for the cultural show ( see seperate post).
    After the show it was dinner at a Mongolian BBQ and then back to Ramada 17th floor for a nightcap.
    Long but great day.... and tmrw we r free!!! 1 more day in UB before train to Beijing on Thursday.
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  • Day99

    Kate hands over 8000yr old arrowhead

    October 8 in Mongolia ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    This afternoon we got a taxi to the Institute of Mongolian Archaeology to meet Turbat Tsagaan a professor of Bronze Age studies.
    K wanted to hand over the quartz arrow head she found in the Gobi Desert last week.
    It turns out to be a definite Neolithic arrowhead 8000-9000 yrs old!!!
    Interestingly Turbat used the term BP which google later told us meant “before present” which is a much more scientific measure of time than BC ( before Christ) especially if u r from another religion.
    Turbat said he would pass the arrowhead onto the stoneage dept as he was Bronze Age ( we think maybe the Stone Age dept don’t speak English) whereas Turbat has just come back from a conference in Germany yesterday and spoke excellent English.
    Sadly his personal skills were a little limited as we were not offered a seat which was a good job because his office and building were filled with archaeological amazeball items- including a photo of a Bronze Age skeleton he had dug up from the Uglii region we had just come from- enlarge the photo of Kate and u will see it in the background!!!
    Turbat said he would use the situation in his next talk as we suggested he educated the tour guides that at future finds by tourists are automatically handed in.

    http://mongolianarchaeology.academia.edu/TsagaanTurbat/CurriculumVitae

    https://www.google.com.au/search?q=quartz arrowheads of neolithic age&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-au&client=safari#imgrc=sLDcHXO-1FHKQM:

    K found it at the following location if ur not asleep yet!;
    Umnugobi province
    Bulgan Soum, close to Khavtsgait petroglyphs -
    she has a bloody good eye and a good heart for wanting it to stay in Mongolia and not as a souvenir. Good spotting!!
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