zprávy z Mongolska

Po železnici nebo letecky ? Dva různé způsoby cestování do Mongolska

Po železnici nebo letecky ? Dva různé způsoby cestování do Mongolska - obrázek

Po železnici nebo letecky ? Dva různé způsoby cestování do Mongolska - obrázek

Mongolia is commonly regarded as one of the most isolated countries in the world. Actually, the fact of being located in two extreme frontiers of Russia and China, the long distances from Ulaanbaatar to any other main city, and some misleading advertisements and slogans of certain travel agents create the feeling of an inaccessible land in the middle of nowhere.

Despite the difficulties, every year some hundreds of thousands of tourists and businessmen visit Mongolia. A tiny minority crosses the borders by car, but most of them use two other means of entry: air and railway travel.
The differences between these two ways into Mongolia are huge and surprising.
On the one hand, this country is lucky to be part of one of the most romantic and exciting railway routes in the world, the Mongolian branch (Trans-Mongolian) of the Trans-Siberian.
Every year, thousands of tourists from Europe, the Americas, and Oceania, book expensive tickets to enjoy the scenery and spirit of the Central Asian. Most of them expect a pleasant trip, nice service, and good (though not luxurious) facilities.
The first impression after entering the train destroys all magic and brings people back into a terrible reality. The train looks old, and it is dirty and smelly. Many Mongolian travellers are smugglers who keep their stuff away from police, hiding it in every compartment, even in those where there are only foreigners. Sadly, the hostesses, who pretend to not speak any other language besides Mongolian, help to maintain this practice, probably because there are always gifts to thank them for their services.

Every day foreigners and Mongolian families have to stand the defiant looks of the smugglers, who sometimes beat tourists. When there is no stop it is difficult to get out of the compartment because of the drunkenness of many of the traders. Foreigners and non-trader Mongolian travellers just get together to talk about how much they want to arrive in Ulaanbaatar and abandon the train. A few of them talk about the differences between the Russian train and the Mongolian train.
The final leg of the trip starts when the train arrives the borderline of Naushki-Sukhbaatar. The traders run as madmen from one compartment to another, looking for their stuff to hide in safer places.
First the Russian police search every corner of the train. At that very same moment, the Mongolian hostesses, miraculously start to speak a very acceptable Russian. After checking all the passports and visas, the train is allowed to proceed to Mongolia.
The second and final test for the smugglers occurs when the train arrives in Sukhbaatar. The polite and efficient Mongolian police register again every corner of the wagons, and obviously find what they know it is there: 'Made in China' goods that were supposed to be illegally introduced into Mongolia. The ego of the traders succumbs as policemen confiscate full sacks of goods and fine their owners. Finally the train arrives in the Mongolian capital and the travellers swear not to take the train again.
The other Mongolian port of entry is by flying MIAT airlines and is equally surprising. Most people are afraid of flying with companies in the developing world. In fact, some companies from Africa, and Asia are banned from flying in Europe. MIAT has currently two destinations in Europe, Moscow and Berlin.
For some people, flying for the first time with the Mongolian Airlines is an exotic and risky adventure. Everyone expects old Soviet aeroplanes full of shepherds who may even bring some of their animals.
The first impression after accessing the plane is as surprising as that of the train...but different. The feeling of insecurity vanishes. All MIAT airplanes are modern and well-cared for, nothing like the planes in those Indiana Jones films that are supposed to fly over inaccessible countries like Mongolia.
During the flight, the service is incredibly good. Hostesses speak different languages, are polite and care about the customers. There are films, different genres of music, and variety of good food.
The adventure of flying to Ulaanbaatar with MIAT loses all its danger and becomes a pleasurable experience, worthy to be repeated.

Zdroj: UB Post


13.04.2012 00:18:31
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