I have finally finished the Mongol Rally. Adventures like this is why I still love traveling! If you haven’t noticed, I am way behind on telling this tale of motoring mayhem. I barley done sharing what happened during week one. The reason I’m behind is simple. I’m exceptionally terrible at writing a blog post while bouncing up and down on some of the worst roads in the world.
All of this while simultaneously having a driver that is swerving the car back and forth trying to dodge potholes that are spacious enough to fit King Kong. I know, I know, I should be better at writing under those conditions, but we all have our flaws.
However, I have kept all the adventures, crazy stories, and momentous moments locked up safely in this semi-reliable brain of mine, and now that the rally is over and I’m not spending ten hours a day in a car which felt more like a bag of popcorn in a microwave, I can finally share them all with you.
Let’s get started.
In case you had forgotten, when we last left off on our tale, my team, The Drama of Llama, was just about to cross out of Turkey and into Georgia. This all went according to plan and we spent the next few days dodging the crazy drivers in Georgia.
This is because there isn’t any passing lanes in that country and yet you can legally pass at any time. If someone on the opposite side of the road is in your lane trying to pass, they feel it is your responsibility to get out of the way. Not vice versa. This lead to many a “OH Shit” moments, but with some clever driving (which I did none of) we made it to Tibisl safe and sound. In Tibisl, we took a few days to just relax, calm our nerves, and regain our composure before getting back on those roads. When we finally did, we were greeted by a beautiful mountain pass between Russian and Georgia.
At the border, a Russian guard sat in his little booth and looked over and over my passport. It was taking a lot longer than usual which was starting to make me a little nervous. Suddenly the border guard got up and made a phone call. I knew this couldn’t be good!
After the call, he motioned for me to move to the corner and wait. I wasn’t slightly nervous anymore, I was extremely nervous. I could feel beads of sweat forming on my brow and my mind was racing with questions. What had I done? Were my visas wrong? Was I about to be interrogated in a smokey room under hot lights? After a couple minutes, time seemed to stand still. Then, an even more intimidating border guard entered the booth. He grabbed my passport and started talking with the original guard.
Now this is the point in the tale where I have to tell you that my last name is Schreck which is pronounced exactly like the popular kid’s movie, “Shrek”. You know, the one with the green ogre.
This has caused me multiple headaches, teasing, and laughs all over the world. In the beginning it was funny to hear the occasional phrases, “Your last name Schreck?… like the movie? but you’re not even green”. (insert person laughing here ….and now you are one of them. But after years of this and at least a million jokes, it gets old). Now back to my harrowing tale.
I watched as the guard abruptly grabbed my passport, exited the booth, and began walking towards me. I could feel all the blood drain from my face as he drew nearer and before I knew it, it was standing before me. He looked at me and said, “Schreck? Seriously?”. I looked up and immediately saw a big grin across his face. Suddenly, I felt my color return. I was going to be alright.
“Yeah,serious”, I shrugged.
He continued to ask me a couple questions all awhile he made jokes about my last name. That is when I realized something about myself. I HATE jokes about my last name UNLESS you are a border guard, police officer, or some other authority that can screw with my life. “Where Is Cat?”, the border guard asked.
I quickly pointed to Norbert and said, “That’s cat”, and pointing to Alex, “and he’s donkey”. He roared with laughter (He must have been a massive Shrek fan) and then waved us on. As we disappeared around a bend, I could still hear him chuckling.
We drove for a bit before we camped, never thinking in a million years that this would be our last night together as a team in our car. The next morning, we would crash into a massive white delivery truck and bid farewell to Lizzy forever.
The funny thing is that not one of us thought about quitting the rally. In fact, it made us more determined to finish, which we did, although separately, each having our own crazy adventures along the way. I can’t wait to share a few of these with you. Tune in next week for more juicy details of this insane road trip.