After having a nap in a secluded corner of the Incheon Airport, I went down to my gate, looked around, and saw a riding helmet – yes it was Rose Sandler, fellow Derby rider!
It was nice to finally meet another rider, and have someone to watch baggage while we took washroom breaks in the Chinggis Khan airport. Traveling alone can be difficult, but it helps when you have a bunch of built-in friends to meet along the way.
It was early to bed (past midnight in UB, and lunchtime at home), having not slept for more than an hour in the last 2 days. Unfortunately, I was up by 5am and I was in and out the whole time. I went down to breakfast in my Derby shirt, hoping I would find other riders, and Anita (of Iceland) came and dined with me.
We were joined by Mikael of Sweden, who had just arrived within half an hour from the airport. We asked how his trip was, and looking a bit like Russian Mafia, in his deep Swedish voice, he responded casually “I saw a dead body”. Clearly, his adventure was off to a good start.
Anita told us some of the other riders had been in touch and were going to the Chinggis Khan monument that morning, so we joined Krystal (USA) and Anna (Denmark) for the trip in a tiny car, but that was ok, we were all now best friends so lap sitting was ok.
Out front, you could pay $5,000 Tugrik (about $2.50 USD) and get your photo taken with an eagle or a vulture – so we all went for the vulture – bigger the better right?
Krystal suggested that we should charge the Mongolians for photos with us, because they all wanted photos with the blondes – even pushed Anita out of the way to have a photo between Anna and I. We were more of a spectacle than the birds.
On our way back, we saw some camels by the side of the road. Of course, we had to stop and go for a ride – only $5,000 Tugriks again! We giggled like little girls on their first pony rides, as the little girls led us around by the road on camels.
Back to the hotel for a short but helpful nap, waking up just in time to greet Bonnie (USA) who would be my roommate for the next few days and then go up to the rooftop bar to meet with many of the riders. Relatively early to bed that night, but still not much sleep. Too exciting.
To be continued…