From Les ....
Hi everybody, I am typing this update to you knowing that it won't be sent until we find a wifi connection. It is May 12th and we're at a place called Kosh-Acash near Tashanter the border crossing into Mongolia, we had planned to cross today, but were told that the border was closed until 9am Monday. As there is no wifi in this part of the world we can't contact anybody to tell them we are OK and that we expect to cross the border and be at Olgii about 50 miles south by mid day tomorrow.
Since we have been on our own without a translator we have done very well, I worked out what I would say to Russian speaking people to ask for assistance and wrote it down and I sweet talked the girl at the Hotel we stayed at to translate them into Russian and it has worked. So when we go to a garage to get fuel I flash my paper that says can you help me please I do not speak Russian, I have two cars, I need petrol (benzene) can I pay by credit card or do I have to pay cash. Can I fill the tank full or can I only have 25 litres. I give them that, give them my 'take pity on an old man' look and it works! I have a number of these slips of paper ready to pull out whenever we need food, accommodation, directions were to go, are we on the right road and so on.
I have been quite worried about Mongolia, we have allowed 5 days to travel through and come out at the other end, if the roads are as bad as what we have been told it may take longer and beat up the Jimnys up a bit which concerns me. But that aside, we are ready to go in the morning, extra fuel and water loaded. We've eaten some of the food that we brought with us so we are a little lighter.
Perhaps I am worrying to much, but the only way to find out is to get on and do it, fingers crossed.
Update today ..... Last night they filled the Jimnys with fuel ready to set off this morning. After they'd been travelling for a while towards the border crossing Les noticed he only had a third of a tank of petrol. Turns out, two thirds of their fuel had been syphoned out, whoever did it was good, absolutely no sign of tampering what so ever. Luckily they found a small place where they could fill up again and all was well.
Today was a tough day in some ways but ended on a promising note (some might say). Due to the rough roads they're now on, one of the little Jimnys suffered a broken shock absorber bolt. They stopped at what looked like a roadside cafe with some sort of engineering/repair shed to one side.