Now that we've reached Ulaan Bataar, we have a daunting list of logistical issues to solve. Though it would be nice to celebrate the end of our Mongolian road trip, get back to journaling, and regain some semblance of a "normal" routine, it doesn't feel like we have the luxury of doing so just yet. Neither of us are looking forward to the next few days, and honestly, at the moment, we're both tired of traveling.
The first and most important matter of business is figuring out what to do with our car. How in the world are we going to get rid of it, or how in the world are we going to keep it? Without much of a concrete plan, we begin close to home. The man who runs the hotel we're in has expressed interest in buying it. We've arranged to talk with him this afternoon.
We've just dumped the contents of our car into a tiny hotel room. All of our belongings are strewn about in a gigantic dust-covered mess. We don't have much, and yet we both currently loathe every bit of it, feeling compelled to sell or throw it all away. Again. We are busily sorting through our things when there is a knock at the door.
I feel a bit sheepish as I open the door to let our prospective buyer in. The room is a disaster. The owner and his brother wade through our junk, and sit down on a chair strewn with dirty clothes. Despite the mess, we have a good conversation. Things seem to be going smoothly until the men say they are leaving for Korea in the morning. Apparently, they want to make the exchange today, and they are brushing off my concerns about legally transferring the title.
When I balk at this idea, repeatedly saying the sale needs to be legal, the brothers excuse themselves to discuss the purchase privately. Taking their leave, they've informed us they'll be back in about five minutes. Not long after, there is a knock at the door.
This time, a woman we've never met is waiting behind it. She's come bringing us two free tickets to a very special theater performance that is happening in five minutes. There's no time to lose; if we want to take advantage of this unbeatable offer, we have to leave right now!
Suddenly, I am in Tunisia again, with someone shoving an imagined Berber festival down my throat, trying to lead me to the once-in-a-lifetime event right now. This con generally involves a walk through a medina, ending in a carpet shop for a hard sell.
Of course we don't leave. We turn down the tickets repeatedly and the woman eventually relents. The man and his brother never return. Now we're left to wonder if they saw all of our equipment, and wanted us gone so they could help themselves. I don't like to think ill of people; maybe this was an innocent coincidence, and maybe the brothers got busy and haven't had a chance to return.
My gut says we should get out.
As it is, we can't stay here in our room guarding our stuff; we have way too much to do. Not willing to take our chances, we laboriously pack the mess and drag it back to our car. Just as we're about to pull away, the owner spots us and comes over to find out what we are doing. He seems confused about why we are leaving, but I offer no explanation. When I ask if he is still interested in buying the car, he says yes. I give him our number and we leave.
Something tells me our phone won't be ringing.
By the time we've dragged ourselves and our belongings to another (this time expensive) hotel, checked in and unpacked, the day is nearly over. We have a date to keep, so we trudge out into the city, trying to shake off the funk that has befallen us.
Our next stop is "the Finish Line bar", a pub in town with a giant Mongol Rally billboard on it. Inside, our friends are talking with a Mongol Rally guy, dealing with handing over their cars. I tag along and manage to get the phone number for Tom, one of the organizers. Before it gets too late, I give him a ring. To my relief, he answers right away and happily agrees to meet with us in the morning to discuss our options.
We're not there yet, but at least the ball is rolling.