Ulaan Bator and the Beatles???
Day 16: Mongolia
No, I haven't taken a quick trip to Liverpool, this really is in Ulaan Bator! During the Communist time when western music was banned, teenages would learn and sing Beatles music from listening to contraband records smuggled from Eastern Europe. This statue and the fact locals call the square it's in, 'Beatles Square' marks that time.
Crossing the border from Russia to Mongolia last night seemed to take forever. We arrived at the Russian side just after I uploaded yesterday's blip and we waited while first customs officers got on to search the train and then border officials came to take passports. They were particularly interested in an American couple in the cabin next to mine. They both had lots of stamps from Afghanistan due to their work so the border officials wanted to know what they did. They even wanted to see all the photos on the woman's phone in case there were any relating to her work. (There weren't; they were mostly kittens!)
It made me very glad I got a new passport before this trip so I have no obvious records of work trips to places that could arouse curiosity in my job.
The train was finally allowed to move from the Russian side only to spend almost as long on the Mongolian side. It took about 4 hours in total and we got moving again about 1.30am Mongolian time (an hour ahead of Russia).
This morning the train guard woke me up at 6.30am to prepare for arrival into Ulaan Bator at 7.45am. I hadn't slept well on the train because it was cold. Another difference between that train and the Russian one. The Russian train had very good heating.
I've had a little wander around the area of the city near where I'm staying, mainly so I could change money and eat but otherwise have had a rest day after two weeks of marathon travel. I've covered approximately 9316km or 5822 miles since I left London 16 days ago.
I'm slowing down now. I have a 30 day visa for Mongolia. My quick pace of travel up until now has been to get here before it starts to get really cold and places close for the winter.