[ Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia ]
After more than 2 weeks trapped in Limbo between the Naadam Festival (Mongolia’s Super Blowout, Week-long Mega-Holiday) and the Mongolian Immigration Office, I was rescued today by none other than the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China. (Go Red!)
With one (admittedly convoluted, lengthy, painstaking) trip, I received a 10-year, multiple entry, 60-day per visit Tourist Visa–and a chance to get back on the bicycle at long last.
Why does a Chinese Visa help me continue a bike ride in Mongolia? Fair question. Short version: to get a Mongolian Visa extension that covers the rest of my journey I must leave the country and re-enter.
Bureaucracy at its finest.
But now, thanks to the PRC, I can hop tomorrow’s Trans-Siberian night train, wake up at the Chinese border, spend the afternoon sipping Sino-side tea with bawdy truckers in a festering border town named Erenhot, returning to the land of Mongols the same evening.
Result? A brand new, 90-day, Mongolian stamp in my passport; and the end of a long inter- and intragovernmental nightmare that would’ve given Kafka a day-long boner.