Bruce paid what was left of the customs clearance and the man in the office said that he would send an email to the import distirbution office that we were free and clear to pick up the bus. We left the bags in the hall of this office and were sent down the docks a hundred yards to talk to the import distribution people and get the van from one of the many multi-story car parks. Well... (while the gentlemen in the import office were very nice and quite funny) they had not recieved the email okaying us to pick up the bus... But how could this be? We just talked to the man who said we were all clear... he is just down the road... where is he? (a short phone call later) "He went to lunch." HE WENT TO LUNCH! In the 4 minutes it took us to walk down to the import office, he went to lunch AND did not send our OK email. Andrea was sent back to the original office to watch the bags while Bruce sorted things out with the import office. Andrea actually wanted to go watch the bags since they do hold all of our clothing, computer, and other electronics which we will need for our 10,000 journey. Well all in all we sorted it out and we got to see and drive our BIG BLUE BUS!!! (van count = 1)
After a bit of re-jiggering, we drove the Big Blue Bus in Southampton to Fareham. Bruce did a wonderful job driving a left hand drive car on right hand drive roads! We met Jane Campion (a friend of Bruce's) at her house (an awesome house which her and her partner Allan are putting together beautifully!) in Fareham. We followed Jane in her new Fiat 500 down to Allan's parent's house. Allan's parents are letting us park the BBB in their front garden for the week before the start of the Mongol Rally. THANK YOU !!! Sad to be leaving the Bus again but excited to keep going on our journey, we then hopped into Jane's Fiat and drove back to a train station down the road from her house (car count = 3). Thank you Jane!!! See you on Friday when we pick up the bus.
Now we were off to London by train (train count = 2) to meet up with a wonderful doctor who said that she would put us up for the nights we are in London named Emily. Our train ride would not be so simple because there was a man killed by a train farther down on the train line that had consequences with the train times near London. We were told to get off of the train we were on and change to the train heading to Reading (train count = 3) and then change again to the train heading to London Paddington (train count = 4). We did it! Now all that was left was a quick ride on the London Underground... right? Three different trains later (Bakerloo line, Jubilee Line, and the Overground... train count = 6) and we finally made it to Crystal Palace (where Emily lives). Only a 10 minute walk and hundreds of steps later we finally made it here (where I am writing this blog post). Emily is wonderful and we have had a very nice evening eating take-away curry from down the road and talking about this that and the other...
Total Count of vehicles: Trains = 6, Cars = 3, Vans = 1
Total Count of people we need to thank = more than we can count! THANK YOU ALL!
Tomorrow we are off to be "real tourists" in London! Watch the map... you may just see the Tower of London or Harrods if you zoom in enough on our adventures tomorrow!
As always Viva Mongolia!! and Watch Out London! Here we come!