So waking up fairly early we headed down to the Bus station with another solo female backpacker from
Canada. Typical sort of thing fairly ugly, not much banter doing some pansy degree somewhere.
The previous day we had booked 3 spaces on a taxi to go to Olcon Island with a fat Mongol looking man. Immediately as we approached the bus station a fat Mongol man approached us asking I we want to go to Olcon. So as I thought this was the fat Mongol man we needed we proceeded to jump in his minibus. Several minutes later, another Mongol man appears wearing very similar clothes to the taxi man from yesterday. We soon realise we have the taxi driver but instead of swallowing our pride and owning up we pretend to be asleep so he can't see our faces. BUT THEN... he comes and sits next to me, still oblivious to the fact we are the missing 3 people for his minibus. Being the master of disguise as I am, I pulled off a very realistic sleeping act whereby my face was hidden as I was the one who had booked it. However, Nathan just burst out in giggles and laughter which completely blew our cover. The taxi driver took one look at is then stormed off.
The drive to Olcon Island was a Tarmac road for 4 hours which suddenly disappeared and made way for a stoney dirt track. But as Russians do not have common sense and or intelligence they proceed at the same speed as a Tarmac road. This results in the van back end skidding every time the driver brakes for a crevasse in the road. Sometimes, as the roads were so bad another path had been forged alongside the crap road which was on the whole a lot smooth but resulted in the driver taking his van up and down some incredible gradients that you would not expect a minibus to cope with. After crossing a stretch of water on a ferry we arrived on this desert island. Another hour of driving and we reached a mild form of civilisation. Roads did not exist and houses were just wooden huts. Considering the large amount of minibuses going there every day there were not so many visible tourists. We stayed for one night in a very large hostel there which was good. Not much really to do for one night. You could hire bikes and quads and go up the hills and around. Or go on a boat tour. That evening we organised an excursion through the hostel to a Traditional Buyret village to sample the traditional way of life of the natives. I can tell you now it was the biggest waste of £10 I have ever spent in my life. The whole thing was in Russian. We sat down to try the local food which started off with a shot of something, which Nathan believes is fermented yaks semen. It was atrocious, foulest liquid I've ever tasted. It was like cleaning a fridge with your tongue. We then tried something that resembled cheese and cream. But tasted like you were eating a farm. Considering we had missed dinner for this, it did not boost morale. After taking a romantic walk to the lakeside so Nathan could fill his daily quota of being a fag. We bedded down. The next day headed back to Irkutsk in order to catch our 4:20am train to Ulaan Baator. We dropped our bags off at the hostel and headed to the German Bar where we spent several hours drinking cider and eating garlic toasted bread bits. We arrived at the train station 3 hours early for no real reason. So we decided to get our heads down for some sleep in the wait room. The quality of sleep was extremely broken and was the start of a series of very bad sleeps. Getting on the train eventually we settled in our cabin only to be kept awake by a load of German pensioners organising every aspect of their life in the corridor and laying beach towels on the floor despite there being no sun loungers. The beds were pretty much solid and the pillows weren't too different. The train also lacked AC and considering we couldn't open the window, things started to get extremely hot and sweaty.
The next day was went we crossed the border into Mongolia. We stopped at the Russian side of the border for about 5 hours so they can show us how amateur they all are. The station was full of pseudo important-looking people wearing camouflage. We were thankfully allowed off the train were things were a bit cooler. Then for the last hour we were summoned back to our hell hole. The very odd thing with the train was the sheer amount of Mongolians transporting boxes of cheese and Garnier Shampoo which they were hiding under the floor boards and in the ceiling and moving them around frantically before the border guards got on the train. We arrived in mongolia within 10mins of leaving that border post and stopped there for another hour without the toilet and cooling breeze but with the addition of Mosquitos. We then spent one more night on the train but thankfully with the window open so we got a nice breeze of diesel fumes.