It's a thin line between crazy and and breave - I've been called both before I entered Mongolia.
Sunday 5pm: The border was, as expected, closed but there was unexpectedly not one single car.
It was the feeling like playing in one of those old spaghetti westerns: A deserted, half run-down border town. The road partly coverd by sand and no one to see.
Only the petrol station employee sat bord in his tiny hut, watched out of the opened window and played with the thought to smoke a cigaret.
Yeah right, I needed to fill up both my tanks and all the jerrycans, a welcomed task for the petrol guy... or rather not.
Like a monkey I was climbing around on Matatu to find a propper way to fill the jerrycans. As usally the first time is, you're doing it the russian way - more complicated than it would in reality be.
As fast as Usain Bolt could say "what a twat" I accomplished that task, in fact exactly 45mins long and as I returned I was stunned.
Where did does many cars suddenly turned uf from?
The five over-lander cars from Tomsk were also about to explore Mongolia and celebrated their start of vacations with a big table covered with a diversity of food and Samagon, in the middle of the street.
What a supprise as always - Where locals and a bottle of Samagon is, the foreigners always ending up drinking with them.
The fact that I wanted to drive through Mongolia to get to lake Baikal, without a map and the whole thing only by myself stunned them, even mumbled the word "carzy".
Short before I could cross the border a Kazakh started to talk with me and introduced him as Salauat. After some talking, he kindly invited me to join him to visit his family and relatives who are living not far from the border.
So we drove toghether into the grassy hills where the legendary Kazakh eagle hunters live.
It didn't take us long to spot the first eagle next to a Yurt. Reaching nearly the hight of one meter, it was indeed the biggest eagle I have ever seen.
We learned that this one was caught just a few weeks ago and is not trained yet. Therefore we couldn't get to close to him as there was a real danger of beeing attacked.
That must be pretty difficult to catch such an eagle. But no, not really, they doing it quite sneaky.
You find the aerie and steal an egg and raise the eagle by yourself.
Option B - the sneaky way:
You kill a sheep or a goat and leave its carcass, now the only thing you need to do is to keep the scavengers away.
Eventually, the eagle turn up and start to feed, it will feed too much so it won't be able to fly and flee when you try catch it.
Driving from Yurt to Yurt, to drink tea/Kumis, eat "cheese" or those mongolian cookie like things and take crazyly pictures was the day task.
There was also a moment of annoyance as I found the spare tire reinforcement at the rear door broken. That needed to be welded before we could continue.
Luckyly there was just a village near by and a mechanic was found within few minutes, only the welding quality was not the best as I was to find out a few days later...
Exhausted but happy we arrived in Olgii, where Salauats brother and his family lives. After more tea, food and a nice conversation I staggered into the rooftop tent and fall immediately asleep.
The second day it came to me like lightning, why should I drive to Baikal and then 2'500km back through the, always similar, Sibirian Taiga when I could discover more of Mongolia?
And so I turned south instead of continuing east - best decision ever - the game had started.