Fairfield Guesthouse, Tsetserleg

Turning into the parking area of the Fairfield Guesthouse, I was greeted by three bikers - one from Brisbane, Aust; one from India and the other from Germany, I think, all on medium sized dirt bikes. They were looking for accommodation, but the inn was full, being the Naadam holiday weekend, although Naadam had been postponed. More later on this. Fortunately, I had booked my acommodation months ago, so was assured of a bed.

The lads had just had a meal at the Fairfield cafe, and acclaimed the food as very good. This sounded like a good idea.

The Fairfield Guesthouse is owned by an Aussie expat, Murray Benn, from Sydney, who has been here for six years with his family. It has been nice to speak with a couple of Aussies again.

I checked in and went to my room, shared with Anne, a cyclist from Germany who is cycling across Mongolia and then down to the Chinese border the hard way, on the dirt roads! OMG!

Being pretty stuffed and generally tired from all the effort expended on the day's ride, I sought out the in-house cafe and had an amazing big hamburger with chips and salad, and a long black coffee with milk on the side. It certainly filled the hole, and was most enjoyable, the first "good, western" food I'd eaten for quite some time.

I'd lost an hour somewhere, which I don't really understand how, but perhaps it's because they are on summertime/daylight savings here? Anyway, it was soon obvious that I should retire for the night, about 8.30pm, as I was fading fast. I'd met Anne in the cafe, briefly, before eating, but didn't see her again that night.

Sunday morning I made the effort and came downstairs for breakfast with Anne, as it was included in the very reasonable tariff of T42500, about A$28 or so.

People may think that I do it hard on the motorcycle, but believe me, it is NOTHING compared to what cyclists have to go through on their journeys! I so admire these hardy souls and the effort they must make daily to get anywhere. Anne is doing a lot of wild camping on her trip, but needed wifi to send off an application she was working on, so had come to the Fairfield, and was fortunate to get a bed.

We both wandered out to our bikes after brekky, with Anne doing necessary maintenance on her cycle, and me checking WillieWee over for any further damage caused by the rough roads. Nothing was obvious, so checked the oil level, which was good, thankfully. With nothing much else to do, I just sat and watched Anne work, us talking all the while about the similarities of our preferred methods of travel. It's quite amazing that we each learnt little hints and tipsfrom each other that can be helpful.

Anne's cycle now sports a little koala hanging on the handlebars, to keep her company.

Attemtping to sleep filled up most of the remainder of the day, before we went for a walk in the cool of the evening to the bank ATM to get some Mongolian tugriks, as I was running out of cash. One walks out of the booth with an enormous wad of T10,000 banknotes, for the cost of A$130. Devaluation of the currency wouldn't go astray here, methinks.

Then we wandered along the main street, having declined to walk to the monastery, as we didn't have our cameras with us, unfortunately. Again, we both enjoy observing the stocks available in the supermarkets along our paths. So we walked into the bigger supermarket and wandered around for a while, sometimes getting assistance from the assistant who had a little English language. Strangely, we both bought identical items, 3 nectarines and a bottle of drinking yoghurt.

Walked back to Fairfield, and I called it a night, about 10.30pm,

Sleep didn't come easily, what with all the strange noises emenating from the courtyard below my window, where the two bikes were parked. There were also two cars parked out there now, and there were bumps and knocks, doors opening and closing, lights coming on and off rapidly. I was a bit concerned for my bike, with its luggage still on it, as I could hear what sounded like the lids of my panniers knocking against the panniers themselves, that so ubiquitous sound of aluminium on alminium.

At each major noise, I'd jump up out of bed to look out the window, but with tree foliage blocking most of the view, I could see little, although I did see moving "shadows" a couple of times. In the end, I succumbed to sleep, about 4.30am.

But I managed to come down for brekky again, and had the "big" English meal - scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, tomato, cucumber and toast together with three American pancakes with butter and maple syrup on the side, with a cup of tea.

Back to the room, to try to catch some more sleep, which didn't really happen. Anne eventually finished composing and typing her application, and was able to get underway on her trip again. Originally, she had packed up ready to leave yesterday, but wasn't happy with the application so stayed to work on it after getting her cycle sorted out. Fortunately, no-one else had booked into the room, so she was able to have the same bed again for the night. She had repacked again this morning and finally was ready to leave about 5pm, which would give her 3-4 hours of daylight today to cover some ground before setting up camp for the night.

Above and below: All loaded up ready to depart.

Cyclists stop to chat, as do motorcyclists

Gotta love the great artwork, above, done on this French chap's bike when he was in Pakistan. It took 2-3 days to have it all done. Anne now has ambitions...... when she gets to Pakistan, whenever!

Walking away, about to leave Fairfield.


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