Welcome to Tom and Olly's summer adventure! You've probably already heard how wonderful this trip will be, now you can see for yourself!

This epic journey is part inspired by the Mongol Rally, a group of intrepids who 'race' to Mongolia in very small cars for the thrill of the challenge and to raise money for charity.

We are making our journey unique by not joining the rally and using a bigger car. We thought it would be good to support a Mongolian charity so half the money we raise will go to Mercy Corps Mongolia, which is one of the rally charities.

We are also raising money for a different charity, the Masiphumelele Youth Project in Cape Town. This charity was set up by Shake Seigel and his brother so has a personal tie to our medical school. (For anyone who doesn't know Shake he is a legendary member of the GEM staff!)

Please have a look and give what you can:

Our Justgiving page
More project info at: Masiphumelele Youth Project

We will try and use this blog thing to keep you posted on how we get on. But who knows how we'll get on updating it where we're going...

We have currently raised £350 for the Ubuntu Foundation, and by donating the car expect to raise a few thousand pounds for the Kindergarten for cerebral palsy children in Ulaanbaatar. see goodbye susie for more. (6/9/07)

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Queen of the Slipstream

Unlike our posts on here our travels have continued. Although plenty internet has been available we haven't been able to get on this site and actually post until now. anyways:

We left iran after crossing 900km of baking desert in a day and battled with traffic and pilgrims in mashad. From there we enter the strange world of turkmenistan. We toured this place with a russian women who was very keen to explain as much as she could about the history of this bizarre place, we weren't quite so enthralled! More to follow on the king of countries to never return to!

Uzbekistan felt a bit more civilised and slightly more free, but still scores of police on every corner. We drove into Bokhara, promptly got lost down some tiny back alleys and arrived at the nearest thing to a tourist trap we'd seen since istanbul! We met up with some rally cars at last and had a few beers with 2 teams. Both had started with suzuki jeeps, unfortunately one had perished in germany and the other had battled through repairs to reach bokhara and beyond! To those and all who started the trip with sj's we salute you!

We had a great time chilling around Bokhara with those guys, unfortunately here olly suffered a bout of 'the runs' and was laid low for a day. We moved on in convoys to mythical Samarkand, where we met up with more teams, a few micras, a london cab, ice cream van and a polo! Great to hear all their stories and vent our frustrations about the obstructive turkmen!

Next it was up to Tashkent (we had an unpleasant arrival to this sprawl in the dark and when we eventually found our place to stay and went to town to eat it was too late and we found nothing!) Beautiful drive down through uzbek to Andigan and the border at Osh. Here the fun continued, we must have taken a few wrong turns because we arrived at what we thought was the main border but turned out to be a minor local crossing point in this sensitive region. By this time it was about 10.30pm and the police had no idea what to do with us. We we escort miles away to a police headquarters and waited around some more. Passed gangs of men weilding clubs around some trucks, and my new co driver (some local chancer who owned a minimarket) told me it was 'contraband'! After whiling away a few hours trying to explain the mongol rally to some police chief we got directions to the real border. By then it had closed and we passed out of uzbek at about 2am to wait in no mans land until the kyrgiz border opened at 6. This effort was rewarded later in the day with a beautiful mountain road up through kyrgizstan. This place is really amazing, beautiful lakes and mountains. Camped out on the nomad pastures on the way here with Rob and Phil in the sj. Stunning to be up in the mountains at last. Today we leave the trodden rally route as they rush to their party in ulan bator on the 19th and we take a scenic detour to lakes Issyk Kul and Sol.

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