Good news! AJ’s passport has returned, bursting at the seams with visas from strange and exotic places, a mere 48 hours before he flys off to Portugal.
Arguably booking a holiday 2 weeks before the trip with no passport in sight was a risky move. However I think you’d all agree that it’s vital that we begin this trip relaxed and rested and what better way to do that than a two week pissup in the Algarve.
Not a world cup match you would watch.
Meanwhile Zack rather unexpectedly got a chance to nip over to Las Vegas for the weekend (as you do) for work. The only slight issue being that the good people of Uzbekistan were still looking after his passport for him.
However a few phone calls to the good people at the Visa Machine later and this was all sorted, it actually looks like Zack will be getting his visas earlier than expected now.
Despite a messy divorce in 1991, Kazakhstan and Russia have been making an effort to spend more time together for the sake of the other Stans.
A big shout out has to go to The Visa Machine. They’ve been extremely helpful and are alway happy to answer your questions or give you an update and just where the hell your passport is currently at. Without them this whole process would have been extremely difficult so thank you and we would highly recommend their services to anyone in need of a few funny visas.
So with less than a month to go, it’s probably time we think about getting some tents…
Sunday morning last was a bit of a low point for one half of the MMC.
Zack had gone and got himself good, stinking drunk the night before and found himself having missed his bus stop when venturing out to the Jordan household.
Sitting in a bus terminus in the arse end of Balerno – which in itself is virtually the arse end of nowhere, he gave AJ a call. Usually this results in AJ showing off and using his Mini’s in built blue tooth to the fullest extent (Zack once witnessed him call his mum whilst reversing into his own driveway…she was in the house). But this time there was a muted, ‘can’t talk on my way’ before the call was terminated. A quick ‘I think I know what has happened’ text followed. Confused and hanging baws Zack waited with the patience and balance of a poorly sedated rhino, only to have a shamelessly large grin put onto his face when our 15 year old Polo rounded the corner with the majesty of a business drunk leopard seal.
Insured up to the eyeballs her first jaunt was to rescue Zack in his hour of need and deliver him to a cooked breakfast. A stunning omen if ever there was one.
It set the tone for the rest of the day.
Once suitably fed and watered the lads felt almost human again. It was into the boiler suits (or promotional world cup dutch onesie for Zack) to take a first look under the bonnet as a Company.
We have touched upon the car in a previous post – but we seriously got a brilliant deal. The day spent in the garage was mostly to appease Andrew’s Dad who wanted to make sure we could change a wheel, secure jerry cans in the boot and not break replacement windshield wipers (which AJ failed miserably in). This was hardly a ringing endorsement for two fellows with more than a decade of driving experience under there belts between them, planning on driving 8000 miles out into the cuds – but no matter.
Tests passed and spark plugs changed there was just enough time for some promo shots and a quick video recording before Zack had to catch a train to Manchester.
(Gratuitous Slight Modification to Car Shot)
It was the first time the pair of us had been able to chat Mongolia in earnest without the medium of Facetime and a real pleasure. It really, genuinely and properly feels like we are going now.
There are 5 weeks to go, which is less time than the boys are away for. The countdown is well and truly on and the start date cannot come quickly enough. Still plenty to sort out though so stay tuned for more updates!
MMC (and Morse the dug)
MMC witness the vehicle in all her splendour together for the first time. A cracking day and the start date cannot come quickly enough!
Apologies for the lack of posting, exams etc.
The only news really is that, slowly but surely, the visas are starting to come back. So far Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan has seen fit to allow us passage and my passport is currently residing in the Kazakhstan embassy. Anyone who has applied for one of these visas knows how gruelling and tedious the process can be. The Russian visa form for example wants to know every single country you’ve been to for past 10 years and how long for. As you can imagine (casual bragging) this list took a while collate.
The other difficulty with planning this trip of course is the fact that the two of us are in different parts of the country with different schedules and priorities. The bulk of this trip has therefore been planned over multiple late night FaceTimes. The two of us have been calling each other several times a week when we have a second (during a poo for example) to keep tabs on one another.
If you’re quietly wondering where Kyrgyzstan is by the way don’t be embarrassed, neither of us can even pronounce it properly. It’s nestled in amongst all the other Stan’s right in the middle of Asia. Most go whom hate each other and routinely close their mutual borders for no apparent reason, much to angst of rally enthusiasts.
Why go through the Stan’s at all? An area the FCO describes after all as having an “underlying risk of terrorism”. We could actually avoid them by just going through Russia, which would be easier and quicker.
Well in the words of George Mallory, “Because it’s there”. Simple as that, when else would we go there? It’s really now or never.
Stan literally means “land of” if you’re interested. Many people do not realise when they have actually met a Kyrgyz, instead mistaking their ethnicity for the sound of someone being poked in the ribs.
Anyway we’ll try to post more when we have more to post, i’ll leave you with Billy Conolly’s thoughts on the matter.
Love MMC x
Just a wee note because we feel its important folk know why we are dropping everything and driving to the arse end of nowhere!
The idea was first floated when we were sitting in an abandoned school playground in Peru, at the bottom of some mountain or other that we had classily scaled that day. This was camp and we were letting our feet steam off and discussing what adventure would be next.
Here in fact!
The Mongol Rally was a clear winner right from the off. Go big or go home and all that.
Zack had almost committed to go with his brother the year before, who unfortunately had to pull out long before anything was concrete. Ever since that point he had been nursing the ambition and once he knew his perennial travel companion AJ was up for another ridiculous undertaking – that was that. It couldn’t have been more appropriate really.
Almost immediately the discussion moved from ‘we are doing this right?’ to ‘how are we going to do this?’. Cars, money and support aside we wanted our trip to have a wider significance and that is where CHAS came in.
The work that occurs at CHAS is truly incredible. Faced with such adversity every day, the bravery of the children, families and staff stuns us every time we think about it (please click here to find out more). It reminds us how gut wrenchingly lucky we are and how nothing should ever be taken for granted. If our jaunt can help raise awareness, and more importantly funds, in any way at all then we will seize that chance.
As AJ mentioned in a previous post – our friend Sarah Groves passed away in tragic circumstances last April. She was one of the most adventurous people we have ever met. She actively sought new experiences and made the most of them with an aggression and fierceness that was both inspiring and a wee bit intimidating!
So we are going to Mongolia armed with the desire to have an adventure enough for those who cannot do so themselves – through no fault of their own. We know how fortunate we are and that will never be lost on us. Please give generously *. http://www.justgiving.com/myresidemotoringcompany
Hope you are all dandy!
*All proceeds will go directly to CHAS – rally expenses are our own.
Well we’ve actually had it for a couple of weeks now but it’s just passed its MOT so thats something to get excited about. Yes here she is, Sarah, our lovely little VW Polo. She hails from 1999, a simpler time when Tony Blair still seemed like an ok guy and the Euro seemed like a good idea. Boasting luxuries such as a sunroof, 5 doors and 2 of the original hubcaps this little beauty has only 50,000 miles on the clock (although we plan on adding a few more).
We’ve named her Sarah in honour of our late friend Sarah Groves. Sarah was truly a free spirit and we hope that she would approve of our little adventure. We can think of no better tribute than to bring her along with us in some small way.
Kuwa Huru x
AJ can just squeeze in
On the 12th of July this year, AJ and Zack will be embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. Crammed into a little VW Polo (1999), the boys are taking on the legendary Mongol Rally. Stay tuned for blog and photo updates as they try to scrabble together things they probably need, attempt to learn how cars actually work incase theirs decides not to, and spend hours staring at maps trying to work out where exactly some of these places are.
A wise young man once said
“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men,
Gang aft a-gley,”
Lets just say 8, 568 miles is a long way…
We’ll see how this goes…