THE END OF MONGOL RALLY 2015
The next 2 days were spent enjoying UB with the blissful ignorance that we were going to visit Russia and return to donate our car to a local charity. We visited the enormous Chinggis statue, enjoyed the warmer weather and vegetation of Terelj National Park, went shopping at the black market, picked up Polish hitchhikers and enjoyed hanging out with great mix of people our hostel provided.
As the kiwis left and headed to Russia, we headed to meet the charity representatives to arrange the donation of the car. We (and our friends at the charity) discovered through a chance encounter with a customs liaison, that the donation might not be as easy as we had initially hoped. Apparently there was mounds of red tape surrounding the donation our car, even if it was donated to someone who would take full responsibility for it. We spent the day being driven around, visiting seemingly every government office in the city and understanding little of the various scenarios that were being attempted to bypass the custom requirements. Everything from getting an official bill of sale to getting a chief fire fighter friend to send pictures/documents to prove the car was completely destroyed. After a fruitless but positive day, we still felt confident that the donation would work.
Marshal headed to Russia the next morning and as we returned to the charities office to work on the donation. Instead of making progress that day, it became clear that we were running out of options to make the donation work. The next 2 days we pivoted, we attempted to work directly with the customs office ourselves per the advice and aide of a local pastor friend of the my dad. After a good cop/bad cop standoff (I was the good cop obviously) with the head of federal customs, we were informed there might be a way for us to leave the car, but it would have to be given directly to the customs authorities. With time and money running out, we sadly had to give in and started the 2 day process of declaring our car as an abandoned good.
After one last morning of paperwork and a hilarious inspection where our car twice failed to start and the doors wouldn’t lock, we handed over our keys to the General Customs Administration of Mongolia. As we left by foot from the customs office, emotions ran wild as we guiltily realized we were leaving our 5th team member behind…
Yaks on Yaks on Yaks out.