We stepped off the train at Ulanbatar and it was like a switch had been flicked, suddenly the people looked completely different to those in Russia. There was no gradual change as we crossed Russia they just changed from one side of the border to the next. The main difference was they were all smiling. Ulanbatar or UB as us locals call it is the main city, well the only city really, with 45% of the countries population living there, it's big and developed but there is still rubble and holes in the road and pavement, and lots of stray dogs, but there was something exciting and vibrant about it. Like it was on the brink of transformation. I don't know why but i loved it. Our hostel was right next to the train station, and it was lovely with a common room and a restaurant. We ditched our bags and made our way to our training session with Ger to Ger the charity that put us in contact with our home stay in Mongolia. Steve had a bad nights sleep and it was showing, on our way he flipped out and made me give him the directions and paperwork, normally I would rise to these things but when you are travelling together every day 24/7 you get use to the fact that at some point you are both gonna have highs and lows and you just have to balance it out and role with it that's why you travel with someone else so they can pick you up when you need it and vice versa. We walked along for a while in silence then when we got to the square we had been heading for Steve went to check the directions, only to realise he didn't have them, he mist have checked the same two pockets at least 10 times as if they were going to magically appear, this was another one of those times when I knew I shouldn't laugh but it just made me laugh more, we walked back retracing our steps, i kept a little distance so he couldn't hear my fits of laughter, but couldn't find them. Realising that we had lost the directions and our confirmation we needed to pick up our train ticket we decided to take drastic action - we went for breakfast. It was an Irish pub and we had scrambled egg on toast, apart from the 100's of flys it was nice but for a country with 25% of the people living on less than $1.25 a day it was very expensive. I used the wifi to get the original emails for the stuff we had lost and we set off again. It took us hours to find our way around the city to the tiny offices we needed but we got the job done, when we got to Ger to Ger they told us they had everything we needed to hire and to come back at 4pm and sort it then and have our training session. We did a bit of sightseeing and then visited the jewel in UB's crown, KFC. It was the first international fast food outlet in UB, it had only been opened a few weeks, and they were very proud of it, the president said that it was a sign the country had made it. I can't wait for the Mongols to discover Nando's they will probably declare the day it opens a national holiday. Just before 4pm we arrived at the Ger to Ger office, a tiny space about the size of my front room, we were greeted by an Alaskan man who said he was the C.E.O, he kept telling us how privileged we were to be greeted and trained by the C.E.O himself, this guy was delusional, he was in charge of a tiny tatty office with a couple of computers, the place was so small I'm surprised he fit his head in it. It would be like me stopping everyone I made a coffee for and telling them how lucky they were that I the actual manager was taking my time to make them a coffee - what a doosh bag. The "training session" consisted of about two hours of him talking about how great he was and about 10 minutes of scare stories and lists of rules, there were so many things you couldn't do and things to worry about I scribbled away trying to make sure I remembered them all. Things like, don't whistle in the Ger, only walk clockwise, enter with your right foot. With so many rules it seemed inevitable that I was going to offend our Mongol family. After they took our money it turned out they didn't have any of the equipment we needed so with a few bits of paper and some bus tickets we were left to it and sent on our way. Everyone in the room looked scared, we were all sure we would fall off a snake or get eaten by a horse. And then it was like Aneka Rice or the Crystal Maze we all ran to the one shop that was left open the State Department Store. It was huge and everyone that had been at the induction was there running around trying to grab the last sleeping bag and find the ponchos. Luckily we found everything we needed except the riding helmets. I thought we could do without them but Steve's tiredness was taking its toll and he was saying he wasn't going to ride a horse without one. It was now about 9pm i left Steve with the bags and I just kept going into any random shop i could find open desperately searching for a riding helmet. I was determined to find them. I did find some bubble wrap but I think Steve may have bit me if I suggested it. Eventually in a supermarket I found some helmets in the kids department I think they were for baseball, but they were only £9 and I'm sure Steve wouldn't know the difference. Eventually we got back to the hostel exhausted. It was 2.30am before I had everything sorted and ready, having emptied my massive bag and left what I didn't need in the luggage room. Still I had a whole 3 hours to get some sleep before I had to get up to get the bus to start our Mongolian adventure.