We arrived at the Mongolian/Chinese border by train from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The train left at 4.30pm and arrived at the border town at approximatly 7 am the following morning. From here it would take us about seven hours to travel about a half a mile! We had been told that once we got off the train to get a local jeep to take us across the border and then to get a bus to beijing.........it sounded simple! On leaving the train we were approached by a guy who managed to tell us he would bring us over the border (even though he had no english). We agreed and were about to leave for his jeep when this pretty Mongolian girl approached us (her family had been in the cabin next to ours on the train), with her small bit of english she asked us where we were go, "Beijing" we said, "get in my car" she said. So we did. After travelling about five minutes down the road we came to the border, were there was a que of about 30 identical jeeps waiting to cross the border. The border seemed to be closed though, so we waited and we waited and we waited. While waiting we filled out all the relivant paper work, with a little help from the family we were travelling with, as it was not all in English and our Mongolian was a bit rusty! When the border was opened it was like notheing I'd seen before, ever engine was started and reved, again and again. However, only about three jeeps were allowed through at a time but there was pleanty of jeeps trying to skip the que, so every time one jeep moved a foot every other jeep would quickly close the gap! It was comical, this would go on for many hours. When we eventually got through the first set of gates, we travelled about 1/10th of a mile and hit another que and another gate. At this qate the "authorities" were only allowing one jeep through about every 10 minutes and we were about 20 jeeps back. It was going to be a long hot wait but not a boring wait!! The que jumping or at least attempted que jumping continued with the odd angry driver or passenger letting the other know what they thought of each other. We were in knots laughing sitting at the side of the road, it was that funny. A few hours passed and we were how third in the que, I sitting on a bar in the jeep, engine reved...the gate opened, we're off! There was no stopping us even if the official put her hand out! Another 1/10th of a mile travelled, whoohoooo! Now, out of the jeep, put on our back packs and hit inside. A crowd had formed, not a que, at the desk where you presented your departure forms and have you bags searched, absolute madness! And for some reason we where the only fools with big bags, most people didn't even have bags. We eventually got through, they didn't even look at our bags. I think they knew it would probably start a riot if they spent 30 minutes going through our bags! Another 20 feet made and another crowd. This "crowd" was to get our Mongolian exit stamp. By this stage we had been standing in a crowded areas, with two bags each, one on our back and one on our front for an hour. The sweat was rolling off us, we were fading fast. I should also add we still had not eaten or drank anything since the previous day. I think the family and driver we were travelling with could see this and "helped"us to push our way close to the front of the que. I had the two passports in my hand, and reaching as far as I could I stuck my hand through the small window, hoping the lady would take them. Success, she took them. All I'd to do now was get them back! I got them back without too much drama. Out the door and back into the jeep, we were nearly there! All we had to do now was go throught the Chinese gates, get out of the jeep, go up the steps, get our visas checked and stamped, get back into the jeep, go through another set of gates and we were there..........as simple as that!!! Not so simple. As we approached the first Chinese gate we were stopped by a guard, and told reverse back. F*ck, is all I could say. We had no idea why we were stopped. After a bit of confusion we found out why. The Chinese passport control were gone to lunch! Lunch mind you, and we hadn't even had breakfast! Another hour we had to spend in the sweltering heat. One pm, the gates opened. The jeep pulled up to the steps of the passport control building. There was no way we were going to be at the back of the que this time, so it was like we were in the Olympics ourselves, dodging old women and young kids, skipping four steps at a time.......we made, third or fourth in the que. Roy was first, they spent about 10 minutes going through his passport, looking at the photo then looking at him, then they would chat in Chinese and look at the computer. I was laughing at Roy telling him "I told you shave off that beard". Little did I know I'd be there longer, going through the same thing. I'd say the que of about 100 people behind us were delighted. Anyway we made, we were now officially in China! Our celebrations were short lived as we now realised it was like landing in Dublin, not speaking a work of English, not having any book on Ireland and not having a clue how to get a bus. Oh what to do :-) Luckly the family we were with were extremely nice and help us get our bus to Beijing. Finally we could get somefood and sleep. This is the most I think I have ever written, I feel weak, I better lie down. Hopefully more to come (if I recover).