Hello dearest readers, welcome back! To the second edition of our ongoing saga of Shit That Sooooooo Wasn’t Nina’s Fault! Herewith:
Nina’s Omg the Top 10 Things you TOTALLY Must Do on the Mongol Rally to have the BEST TIME EVAAAAAH!
See Part 1 for the 10th, 9th, 8th, 7th, and 6th stupidest-ass things I did on the Mongol Rally.
5) Hitchhike outta the Turkmen desert so as not to get deported / thrown in prison.
Omg seriously I don’t even know how to describe this day. Here’s my best shot?
Circa 6am: Wake. Drag sad-ass, hungover, fuckwit of self out of swag to hitch out of the Door to Hell and back to Prudence le Cunt of a Citroën who, SHOCKINGLY, couldn’t make it over the sand track of death in and caused us to hitch. And then repeat what we’ve repeated every fucking day for the past 32 days: climb into Pru, drive extensively, see lovely things, wait for Pru to shit self and die.
Circa 10am: Pru shits self and dies.
So we’re hella stuck, and a number of other Door to Hell rally refugees and random Turkmen have stopped to help, and it’s not their fault they can’t, seriously ’cause, as we later determined, that one tiny-ass pothole we hit (seriously! Literally! One! I swear on my still-living mother’s everlasting soul it was just the one!) somehow managed to: fuck the steering, destroy the suspension, bend two rims, pop a tire, finally finish the fuel pump, snap the fuel line, oh, right, and crack the chassis. Turkmen pothole for the win, fucker.
Yet, in an epic feat of heroism hardly ever rivaled (or maybe I just don’t understand mechanical shit HA), a lovely Mongol Rally team in a nearly-as-ridiculous car as ours neatly solved half our probs by…. jerry-rigging a jerry can they’d set on the passenger seat, with a fuel line run through the front seat to the engine? Seriously? I totes got the ‘health and safety moment’ at our weekly work meeting for the next FOREVER y’all.
Circa 1pm: So the jerry-riggin’ was working fine (I love you mechanically handy guys!), until the steering that had been running at about 50% completely went. Sadly, the decision was made to abandon Pru and Chris to the elements (so it’s 46 degrees out, there’s no shade, and we left him no food. He’ll totally be fine, he’s lotsa agua…) and hitch (AGAIN) to the closest town with Team Jäger Battalion (omg bless you boys, y’all and your ABBA saved my life!!). So off we went, blah blah blah, and then what was meant to be a 4 hour return trip ended up taking… 11. That’s right, 11 fucking hours to drive to town, find a flat-bed tow truck (ok finding a tow-truck actually took like a solid 15 min) and drive back. Which tells y’all how ‘awesome’ the roads were. And really this was going just swimmingly, as the non-english-speaking tow-truck driver had kindly bought me dinner and lent me a pillow for my well-deserved pass-out-time, when…
Tow-Truck-Driver: Wakes me, gesticulating wildly, for no discernible reason.
TTD: “URGH burble burble turkmenish word” and more wild gesticulation.
Me: Like seriously? We’re a solid 20 miles off the marker I parked Pru at, bless my iphone and the drop pin function… Looks left.
“Oh fuck! Yeah that’s totally my car!”
I still have no clue how that man spotted a tiny tin can of a Pru, in the dark, at 1 am, on the exact first pass-by, somewhere in a desert as large as small countries. Bless him though. So I’m reasonably overjoyed, what with thoughts along the lines of “oh thank fuck, my turn’s over, time for a real good pass-out…” ‘Cause this day totally isn’t over, there’s still a 4 hour tow to the Uzbek border to go. You know, ’cause it occurred to me sometime in the past 12 hours that our visas are up tomorrow and if we don’t get the fuck outta this benighted country, APPARENTLY they will actually throw us in jail. That’s right, Turkmen Jail. My brilliant plan being to just put that on Nina’s Top 10 List of Things in Which She Remains Uninterested, tow our bitch of a Pru to the border, sleep?? and push her across in the morning. Totes probs fine? When I realize….
So I’m scampering around the car, by the light of my trusty iphone, and it takes me a solid 10 minutes to accept the horrible truth. The man ain’t there.
- He was there, as the car has obviously been moved ~20 miles from where I left him;
- His bag o’ passport etc. is gone;
- The car’s definitely locked.
- Omg he’s been murdered by bandits and I’m going to die in the desert;
- Seriously over-tired and under-slept Nina, he’s obviously fine, as the car is locked;
- Motherfucking cunt-holes, am I seriously about to go on a tow-truck chase in the middle of the night, in Turkmenistan, with an English-lacking tow-truck driver, no mobile reception, and a soon to expire visa that’s the only thing keeping me out of Turkmen Jail, to find a missing Aussie, who’s left his mobile in ‘Straya anywho, and who has most probably hitched out with someone else (so I was 7 hours late, whatevs) and is currently sleeping in a nice friendly hostel somewhere??
- Fuck him in the ear, who abandons a car in the Turkmen desert and DOESN’T LEAVE A NOTE.
So TTD’s gettin’ a lil’ antsy over there, or that’s what I’m gettin’ from his non-English gesticulating anwho, and clearly wants to know what the shit I want him to do now there’s no other human here, only a deranged and half-cannibalized tin can named Prudence.
- Tow the cunt back to town, with its hostels and foodstuffs, to cadge a possible tow in the morning from Team Jäger Battalion?
- Tow the cunt to the border, so I can at least cross in the morning. ‘Cause clearly the ‘car visa’ is on his passport, meaning he can’t leave the country without Pru. But I have Pru. And I can’t leave with Pru, ’cause she’s not on my passport. But how will I get through Uzbekistan in the next 10 days without Pru? Omg I’ll just:
- Die in Turkmen Jail.
Clearly I chose the first option. So we get the damn car on the damn truck, and start down the damn road, to the fucking town, so I can bang on hotel doors to find anyone who might want to house me at like 4am, thence to reassess my alternatives after this cunt of a day. Cue tiny Nina-nap, and then…
Circa 1am: Sound of furious honking and TTD madly gesticulating. So much gesticulating today, dammit.
Me: Omg I think I actually would rather die at this point, is TTD seriously flagging down a second tow truck? Is he selling me down the river? Am I about to meet a fate potentially worse than Turkmen Jail?? Jesus H, and we were almost to the turn-off to town too.
But no, he’s actually being flagged DOWN by another tow-truck. Which is carrying the Mysterious Disappearing Aussie. WTF?? It turns out he had somehow hitched out on a third tow-truck commandeered by a second broken Rally Car making an equivalent last-ditch, jail-escaping border run, had them call the second tow-truck, and was heading back into the pit to rescue Pru, while I was fleeing with her in the first tow-truck. Seriously. Literally we were tow-trucks passing in the Turkmen night, and he just happened to see us about 5 miles before we’d’ve turned off and probably died somewhere excessively horrid. To this day all I can get outta him re: what he planned to do about me is, ‘Ahh, you’d’ve been fine. I’m sure you’d’ve made it to the border by morning.’ Fuckin’ Aussies.
So we switched the motherfucking tin can Pru to the other motherfucking tow truck, paid off TTD 1, who was very happy indeed to return to his town, bed, and family, and drove off to the motherfucking border. And then…
Circa 3am: GODDAM that was a good nap. Such a good nap! I’ve been asleep for a like a whole 50 minutes…
Me: “And why in the motherfucking hell is tow-truck 3 stopped??
MDA: “Oh, right, yeah, it’s battery died.”
Me: “Omg literally just shoot me in the face.”
So TTD2 called his dad, ’cause like, clearly that’s what ya do when you’ve got a dead battery on a tow-truck in Turkmenistan at 3 in the bleeping morning, even though your passengers no longer actually care about spending eternity in Turkmen Jail, I mean I’m sure they at least let you sleep there, in between the beatings, right??
So his dad popped over, and they totally fixed the battery! Omg something’s going my way, and it only took til 3:30am! And then…
Yeah, they fixed the battery, but not so much the headlights. But that’s ok, TTD2 just drove off down the highway, following his dad real close, all the way to the border, to which we arrived at… 5am.
So yeah, it took 22 fuckin’ hours, ~$350 in TTD payments, most of my sanity, and the aid of at least 13 blessed people, but at least I’m not dead in Turkmen Jail?
And finally, my fav’ line of the day (next day?):
Very Nice Turkmen Border Guard, helping me fill out my exit visa: “Yes, just write hotel you stay last night in here spot.”
VNTBG: “Yes, yes, hotel you stay?”
Me: “Erm. I slept right there. In my swag-bag” Points at ground outside guardhouse.
Me: “No really, those hobos you rocked up to this morning? Passed out in the swags? On the rocks? Next to the other hobos making coffee and mi goreng on a camp stove in the boot of the car they’d slept in? [Yes, yes, TT2 beat us there by like an hour] That was me.”
VNTBG: “Erm. Just put Ashgabat.”
Me: “Thank you, sir.”
‘Cause Mongol Fucking Rally.
And sadly, dear readers, I have unilaterally decreed, much like a Turkmen dictator, that this disaster has lasted long enough, and y’all’ll all just hafta wait another week or two for stupid-ass-things-not-to-do numbers 1-4 🙂