Sunday, March 25, 2007

passports, permits and plans

Pre-departure planning continues to move ahead at speed ..

Finally on Tuesday the visa agency responded with our much anticipated passport numbers - so, all being well, our agency in Russia should have purchased the Trans-Mongolian tickets as they went on sale today.

I got my international driving permit this week (£5.50 from large post-offices) which looks a little like a ration book from the war - complete with translations in languauges I can't even identify, much less speak. Curiously it appears to entitle me to drive everything from a motorcycle to a heavy goods vehicle (with or without trailer) - vehicles I haven't even driven in this country, much less passed a test for ....

My thoughts have now turned firmly to planning our time Mongolia in a little more detail - and with hundreds of thousands of square miles of unowned, unfenced land to explore there are plenty of options. We hope to arrange our own transportation and local guides, so this part of the trip should have a real expedition feel to it.

After Mel rejected the first of my proposals for this part of our trip (I'll allow you to work out why from the link) - I'm now looking into feasibility of travel by chartered Jeep to the Gobi Desert in the South, before making our way North to Khovsgol Nuur and swapping to horseback to explore the National Park surrounding the lake.

I will leave you with this photograph I took on the staircase of a guesthouse in Chang Mai, Thailand when I travelled there in December 1999. I can only suppose they had experienced previous cases of mistaken identity - although I remain unsure of what the checking procedure would have actually involved ...

No comments: