Now began the agonising task of paying through the nose for getting our beloved ambulance off the back of the lorry via another lorry with a winch. It proved logistically far easier than getting it on but emotionally much more difficult. The following hours was a trying experience with locals inquisitively poking around our possessions, waiting like vultures, knowing we would have to leave behind everything we couldn’t carry.
After accepting the few pennies we bartered for to cover the cost of transporting the vehicle to the town for its second chance we were taken hostage to hand over the ownership documents- rubbing salt into the deep wounds. We could only seek comfort knowing that we had done our utmost to restore the ambulance over the last few days dragging us through hell and back.
At least the ordeal was over, safe in the knowledge that no more could be done. We set our sights on our original goal- Mongolia. We thought this would be much easier than it proved to be. There weren’t any trains to the capital (Astana) until 15th July and the next bus would get us there in 3 days. All we wanted was to leave this hell hole, which only reminded us of the incident. We call it a hell hole because of what happened here not because of the fantastic support and welcome that we received.
We began searching for all possible routes and transport methods to Mongolia, analysing the cheapest method compared to the cost of time. This left us with 2 options making another night’s sleep difficult. We could either get the train to Moscow, which was going further back West than we would go East, to then go to Ulaanbaatar in a total of 9 days or we could get a flight from here to Almaty to Beijing before arriving in Mongolia. Both had its pro’s and con’s. The train was £300 cheaper but the flights were 6 days quicker. We were unsure whether the visa’s would work in Russia and we were due to start our training in the Mongolian Hospital over the next couple of days, leaving us with only one option.
You will hear from us in Mongolia as we begin phase 2 of Medics2Mongolia. We would now appreciate your help with donations more than ever to help improve the Mongolian Ambulance Service.