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Mongolia Visit: 2000-8
2009-08-17 - Scariest DriveLake Hovsgol to Ulan Bator, MongoliaAugust 2000Stranded in northern Mongolia with a group of 16 Americans after a freak snowstorm in August. Four hours rough mountain drive from the nearest airstrip, which turned out to be closed anyway, due to the snow. Had to assume leadership of the group to determine a way out. American embassy was too far away in the capital and wouldn’t help. Tried to hire one of the three large Russian helicopters in the country but they were either out of service or in use by ministers. Ended up having to hire local drivers with Russian jeeps and minibuses, (bouncing baby prams with engines!), to drive 17 hours further - back to Ulan Bator to meet our departing flights.Drive through the Mongolian grasslands in the pitch black of night; no lights, no moon, and in many cases not even any road; just driving through fields on gut instinct! Some of the local drivers had been drinking before and were driving so crazily and fast that everyone would lurch and bounce into the ceiling of the jeeps whenever we crossed rutted tracks. Really didn’t think that all of us would make it back alive.
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