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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Last Days in Ulaanbaatar

We left the ger camp in the morning, and arrived back into Ulaanbaatar in the afternoon. 

Ed and Ben chilling on our spacious bus ride back to Ulaanbaatar

Sebastien was feeling worse at this point, so he decided to relax in the hotel while I convinced John and Kevin that we should go to the market, a decision which I am sure they regretted after they had to wait for me to try on multiple pairs of leather boots!

The Naran Tuul market, or the black market, is a huge market in Ulaanbaatar where you can buy pretty much anything – except for apparently a souvenir t-shirt, which I found out the hard way! We wandered the stalls, bought traditional Mongolian hats, leather goods, and random odds and ends. After a few hours, we were pretty tired and headed back, though I did have three pairs of cute boots to show for it, so I considered it a successful excursion. 

We made it an early night, and then the day arrived – the day we were finally flying home. While we were happy at the prospect of getting home to see our friends and family, sleep in our comfy beds and finally get all the dust and dirt out of our belongings, it was also bittersweet to say bye to our friends. Not to mention that I was totally jealous of the rest of our friends who were still traveling to exotic locations like Vietnam and Bali.

Sebastien was still not feeling 100% so he stayed in the hotel while I ran a few errands. I went to see the Roos at Gaby’s house so we could exchange our thousands of photos of each other and say our last “see you laters”.

After a heartfelt goodbye with the Roos, I headed to lunch with the Canadian Ambassador to Mongolia. My friend Brian was friends with him, so he connected us and the Ambassador was kind enough to provide us with some beer and pizza. He was very friendly and interested in our trip! The other Ottawa team – Five Crew Canoe as well a team of crazy boys from Saskatchewan were both there.

We had a nice lunch and I rushed back to the hotel to pick up Sebastien and head to the airport. We were a little concerned because it took a lot longer than we expected to get to the airport, but it’s so small it didn’t actually matter that we were only there an hour before our international flight! We ran into Sandy (from 2 Vagabonds and a Yak) who was on the same flights with us until Frankfurt, as well as Mark from the Rollover team who was on our flight to Beijing. Since Mark had hurt his neck in the accident in Russia, he managed to get his travel insurance to pay for an upgrade to first class! He’s a smart man.

Seb and I at the start of our trip home

Our flight path was long – Ulaanbaatar to Beijing to Frankfurt to London to Ottawa – but thanks to the comforts of lounge access it wasn’t quite as bad as we thought it would be. 

Watching really weird Asian music videos with Sandy in the Air China lounge in Beijing - this is the VIP room ;)

Air Canada has also stepped up their movie selection, which was much appreciated! We made it back to Ottawa safe and sound – though tired! Meena, Adam and Lise met us at the airport and gave us a great welcome home.

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