We rock up to the Dragon Centre Bus Station nearly two hours before the bus is scheduled to leave, with our patched-up bike boxes and our three disintegrating canvas bags. Doesn’t take too long to find the bus to Xobcron, but when we go to load the boxes onto the bus, the driver and the bus-packer start protesting, shaking their heads and frowning. We try to outdo them with nods and smiles, cramming the boxes on and repeating “San! Mash San!” which hopefully means “Good! Very good!”. “Mash San,” the driver repeats, shaking his head.
It is clear that the boxes are too big, that this isn’t going to work without a sweetener (the bus-packer rubs his fingers together, possibly sugesting a bribe). We whip out our third and fourth bus tickets, and after that it’s all smiles – especially since it turns out there is room for boxes in the back of the bus under the seats, after all. And when Tama whips out a packet of Marlboros for the driver, he positively beams at us. Watching the bus-packer cramt eh boxes in there, kicking and smashing at them to make them fit, is delightful.
The two Israeli girls from the hostel turn up, the bus-packer scalps them our extra tickets, and all is well. We wait around, quite pleasantly, for about four hours.
Sitting up the back, in the right corner, my head hits the roof with every single bump. There are about 50,006 bumps on the road from Ulaanbaatar to Moron.