After days of constant motion, the sudden stop is strange and a relief at the same time. We are about to enter Act Two of the Mongol Rally adventure and this is a nice intermission.
We loaded our cars onto the cargo ferry at 9pm last night and we didn’t set sail until 5am the next day. Seeing that this is a cargo ferry we are on, everything is dependent on the cargo load, when we sail, if we sail. Transporting passengers and cars across the Caspian is just a side business.
After hearing horror stories on the condition of the boat, the cabins and the bathrooms, I was pleasantly surprised. The entire boat, from the cabins to the bathrooms was sparse but clean. There is not much to it but then again, you really don’t need much.
The fourteen-hour crossing felt long for a bunch of ralliers who have been driving as fast as they can. We have all been an adrenaline fueled mad dash across the world. There is a clock ticking somewhere, be it a visa, a rendezvous with another team or a plane ticket out of Ulaan Baatar pre-booked, we all silently feel the minute hand moving and the days getting crossed off the calendar and we move. We move through each country in a tunnel vision of the finish line.
Except for these next 14+ hours to come we are forced into taking cat naps, read and find a way to kill time.
The ralliers wonder around on a massive cargo ship aimlessly and I initiate myself into joining Liz, Chris and a couple of the sailor for lunch. Pan roasted chicken, cucumber and tomato salad and a small bottle of vodka.
The first mate (I think that is his station) and the ship’s cook has limited English and so they communicated their friendship and good cheers with a continue toast of vodka. Oh, I think I will need another nap after lunch is over.
With nothing to see and nothing to do, I wonder into the control room with Darian (another rallier) and we were shown all the different controls and displays in this old Russian cargo ship.
On time, we dock at Turkmenbashi at 7pm and we wait for the cargo to be unloaded before we can get ourselves and our car off the boat and start an epic customs procedure.
We start Act Two of the Mongol Rally in the North Korea of Central Asia, Turkmenistan.
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